vlog: 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 – What a Foolish Message!

 

 

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 KJV

 

Imagine you were asked to devise a method of saving mankind from sin, pain, death and unending punishment. What would you come up with? Intellectually we might even try to explain why we don’t actually deserve punishment or that morals are all man made or at least only exist in our minds.

God’s method of salvation consisted of His own Son becoming a sinless man and suffering at the hands of His enemies. In an act of voluntary submission to death on a cross and accepting the assignment of our sin to Him He paid in full the debt that we owed and as a result purchased eternal life.

What a method! Intellectually mind blowing, culturally strange and essentially beyond belief to the natural mind but this is the way of salvation.

Paul argues the case in the verses we are considering.

 

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This is the 9th video in a series of teaching videos on the book of First Corinthians.

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Flashback: This Week Last Year [2012 Week #3]

Costa ConcordiaDuring the third week of January 2012 the world’s attention was focused on the unfolding disaster of the grounding of the Costa Concordia just off of the Italian Coast.

On Digital Sojourner there were a number of interesting posts. Here are a few of the highlights:

Hope you enjoy this flashback to 2012 Week #3

 

[photo credit]

 

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Merry Christmas!

 

 

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Halloween… Are You Ready?

PumpkinAs Halloween approaches many front yards around the community I live in are undergoing a transformation. Pumpkins (both real and plastic), blinking orange lights, dried corn stalks and even a few styrofoam gravestones is a clear signal that it’s time to stock up on candy in anticipation of dozens of sugar-starved kids knocking on my door.

As I wrote last year, Halloween is NOT my favorite ‘holiday.’ However it does provide an opportunity— maybe even the best opportunity of the year— to distribute gospel literature.

While we haven’t purchased any candy yet, I have placed an order for gospel tracts that should arrive in the next day or two. If you haven’t purchased tracts yet, now is the time to get your order in.

This year we ordered our tracts from Moments With The Book. However, there are many other excellent sources of Halloween themed gospel tracts—the point is NOW is the time to place your order!

Oh, and one more important point— don’t go cheap on the candy!

 
[photo credit]

 

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Entry Level Theological Truth [39]

“Then the LORD God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’— therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:22-24

Expulsion from the Garden of Eden by Thomas Cole

Eviction is never pleasant. Involuntarily leaving one’s home is traumatic. Worse still, in Adam and Eve’s case it also meant losing the freedom of unimpeded enjoyment of their Creator (Genesis 3:8.) They were sent from the garden – “Paradise Lost” as Milton dubbed it – into an uncertain world of labor, hardships, and tribulation. In spite of this drastic alteration of scenery, however, the Lord was actually acting in mercy towards them.

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Entry Level Theological Truth [38]

“Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21

The Expulsion from ParadiseSince the entrance of sin into the world, nakedness connotes vulnerability and shame – a naked person cannot hide anything about his physique. It is a metaphor for man’s undisguised guilt – the creature as he actually is before his Creator, as Hebrews 4:13 implies in these pointed words: “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

It was the awareness of this reality that pushed Adam and Eve into textiles, fashioning fig-leaf tunics in a futile attempt to cover their shame (Genesis 3:7.) It also moved them to hide from the Lord among the trees of garden (v. 8) – an absurdity considering that He is both omniscient and omnipotent (Psalms 139.)

Thankfully, the matter of dealing with human sin is not left to fallible, inconstant man; instead, the Almighty Himself provides a covering for our first parents’ nakedness, thereby signalling His redemptive plan that centered on the “seed of the woman” (v. 15.)

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Two Roads Two Destinies Chart

The Two Roads And The Two Destinies

 

Through a Christian Facebook group I recently discovered that the “Two Roads Two Destinies” evangelistic chart is available online for free in PDF format. If you are not familiar with the chart it is an excellent tool for sharing the message of the Gospel.

The chart is available in several different languages in up to three different variations (depending on the language). There is also a 22 lesson study guide available in 4 languages– including English and Spanish.

The resource has been made available by the saints at the Moncton Gospel Hall of Moncton, NB Canada. Thank you!

Jump directly to the download page here.

 

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Entry Level Theological Truth [33]

“So he said, ‘I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.’ And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?’” Genesis 3:10-11

Asking the right questions is a time-honored teaching tool. Socrates, the Talmudic sages, and the Lord Jesus – the Master Teacher Himself – all used razor-sharp interrogatives to lead their listeners in directions that they previously selected.

Of course, God was the first to employ this pedagogical methodology as demonstrated in Genesis 3:10-13. More than merely instructing, however, the Almighty also reveals His heart while interrogating Adam and Eve. In His pointed questions one sees the Creator’s saving and loving nature. This conversation leads humanity’s ancestral parents to confront themselves and discover God’s abundant and pardoning mercy.

 


You Only Hurt The Ones You Love



 

During their previous state of innocence, God calling “Adam, where are you?” would have been a welcoming sound to their ears. On this occasion it drove the man and his wife into hiding. Rather than command them to instantly appear, the Lord began drawing them out through questions. In His omniscience, He knew exactly where they were cowering in guilty fear. Yet He wanted them to reveal themselves to Him – physically and spiritually. This was not some sadistic stratagem to shame them; instead, it was His opening move in the skillful pursuit of their souls. As Mackintosh classically describes the Creator’s actions:

God, at the first, came down to create; and then, when the serpent presumed to meddle with creation, God came down to save. This is brought out in the first words uttered by the Lord God after man’s fall. ‘And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, “Where art thou?”’ This question proved two things,—it proved that man was lost, and that God had come to seek,—it proved man’s sin and God’s grace. ‘Where art thou?’ Amazing faithfulness! Amazing grace! Faithfulness, to disclose, in the very question itself, the truth as to man’s condition: grace, to bring out, in the very fact of God’s asking such a question, the truth as to His character and attitude in reference to fallen man. Man was lost; but God had come down to look for him—to bring him out of his hiding-place behind the trees of the garden, in order that, in the happy confidence of faith, he might find a hiding-place in Himself. This was grace. To create man out of the dust of the ground was power; but to seek man in his lost estate was grace.1

 


Exposing The Wound So That Healing May Begin



 

In order to save mankind from their sin, the Lord must tear away the masks that sinners craft for themselves. Adam and Eve needed to learn the principle that forgiveness must be preceded by the acknowledgement of one’s sin. His questions are aimed at leading them to the confession of their sin. Sadly, at first Adam merely declares his negatively altered condition of being naked and ashamed. Then he proceeds to blame Eve for his crime (unfortunately, he is not the last husband to do that!)

Given that this was the first instance of human sin, the first humans had no case-law upon which to base their reaction. In grace, God teaches them the heinousness of their sin by pronouncing judgment, but then provides a covering of their guilt (Genesis 3:21.) Along with the divinely provided animal skins, the Lord also gave them the promise of “the seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15) – a future deliverer who would achieve lasting victory over Satan and evil itself. Clearly, this prophecy points forward to the cross of Christ.

 


No More Hide & Seek



 

Ever since the fall of mankind, God has extended pardon based upon the redemptive death of Christ on the cross and the subsequent resurrection. Those who desire to be forgiven and legally declared righteous need only come to the risen and glorified Christ for this desired state of blessedness. Instead of hiding from their Creator, people should flee to him, avowing their guilt and asking for the love and forgiveness that He freely offers. As Grant puts it: “Confidence in…[His] goodness enables us to take true ground before God, and enables Him thus, according to the principles of holy government, to show us His mercy. Not in self-righteous efforts to excuse ourselves, nor yet in self-sufficient promises for the future, but ‘if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’”2

 

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1C. H. Mackintosh, Genesis to Deuteronomy: Notes on the Pentateuch., Originally published in six volumes under the titles: Notes on Genesis, 1880; Notes on Exodus, 1881; Notes on Leviticus, 1881; Notes on Numbers, 1882; Notes on Deuteronomy I, 1881; Notes on Deuteronomy II, 1882., (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1972), p. 33. Italics original.

2F. W. Grant, Genesis: In Light of the New Testament, (Galaxie Software, 2004), pp. 45-46. Brackets & bold-face mine.

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Titus 2:11 Salvation Is Available To All

 

This is the 17th video in a series of teaching videos on the book of Titus. You can find the first video here.

Salvation is available to all. This is a wonderful truth. God in His grace has provided salvation that is available to all. Get out there and let everyone know!

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Practical Tips For Evangelism

Lego Mini FigureOn Wednesday night at my assembly’s mid-week Bible study and prayer meeting brother Chuck Henderson moderated a fascinating discussion regarding evangelism.  The context of the discussion had in mind personal, or one-to-one evangelism in the “real” world (you know the physical, offline world).  Because the information is intensely practical, and should be of great help to any believer who would like to effectively share their faith, I have reproduced my notes in bullet point format below.

Warning: the following has only been slightly edited so there is a good chance that you will have a question or need some clarification.  If so just leave a comment, and I’ll see if I can help interpret my notes.

 

What is the goal? For people to come to a saving knowledge of Christ.
— focus on the goal
— keep on track – don’t be drawn away from the issue at hand
— the goal is not to win a debate

Know who it is you are sharing the Gospel with… and act accordingly.
— where does this person stand spiritually?
— are they an atheist?
— are they from a religious background?
— what do they already know?
— what are they confused about?

Skeptics… There are 3 types, know which type you are interacting with as each type should be dealt with differently.
— intellectual
— emotional
— volitional

How much contact do I or will I have with this person?
— will I ever see them again?
— how frequently?

What do you know about their beliefs or the doctrines they hold?
— don’t assume you know what they do or do not believe
— don’t assume they define words and terms the same way you do

Be respectful, be aware of others listening… Don’t embarrass the person.
— don’t be arrogant
— avoid jargon, use words that people can understand

Do your homework, know what you believe & why.
— be aware of your limits

Memorize scripture
— example: Romans 8:9 refutes the error of the second blessing

Other practical tips:
— avoid inappropriate relationships
— be aware of your surroundings
— be aware of any safety issues

 

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Photo flickr/blitzen

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