Devotional Thought for Today – 10/28/2020

August 2018 VOD - First Baptist Church of North Conway

Luke 22:24-30


PRIDEFUL DISPUTE

Jesus sits down at His final meal with His disciples and a argument breaks out. They have just learned of Jesus’ betrayal and of course no one is going own up to that so the next “logical” thing to “discuss” is who is the greatest among them. 

Most folks in their core want some varying level of acknowledgement for a job well done. There is nothing wrong with hoping to get words of encouragement or praise for doing well. It is when we go out of our way to seek these things “a job well done if I do say so myself”  where pride raises its ugly head. Here is a perfect example of that. Jesus has in the three preceding verses Luke 22:21-23, dropped a bombshell announcement and they quickly dismiss it for selfish interests. 

Of course Jesus being whom He is appears to let them go at it a moment and then quells the storm that is brewing by simply reminding them who is truly the greatest, v.27;  For who is the greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. 

Who is greater the master (diner) or servant. Jesus reminds them He is a servant and they recognize Him as greater than all.  So the next time Pride roars its ugly head remember our Servant Saviour Jesus Christ, who willingly humbled Himself for you and me. 

 

Are People Good by Nature?

Romans 3:23-24 — Scripture Type


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Are People Good by Nature? 46% of “Evangelicals” Think So

Unless we understand the depth of our sin, we likely won’t recognize our need for God’s saving grace. Sadly, the results from our 2020 State of Theology survey uncovers widespread confusion among Christians in America about the reality and effects of sin. Conducted in partnership with Lifeway Research, the full results of this survey are now available.

According to our recent findings, 46 percent of professing U.S. evangelicals* agree with the following statement: “Everyone sins a little, but most people are good by nature.” This idea cannot be reconciled with the emphatic teaching of Scripture that all people are radically corrupted sinners in need of salvation (Rom. 3:23). Even the smallest sin is high treason against our Creator, leaving us hopeless of escaping His judgment apart from His mercy in Christ.

Ligonier Teaching Fellow Dr. Stephen Nichols recently spoke on the significance of this finding in the State of Theology survey.

When Christians take sin lightly, our gospel witness is jeopardized. In a rapidly changing culture, the church must remain steadfast in proclaiming the message of salvation in Jesus Christ for ruined sinners. We hope these survey results will encourage American Christians to defend the gospel boldly to the praise of God’s glorious grace.

* Evangelicals were defined by this survey as people who strongly agreed with the following four statements:  1) The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe. 2) It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior. 3)Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin. 4) Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

 

Daily Devotional – Heart of Stone

I seem to be on a path of Devotionals with either a Heart or Peace theme of some sort. Maybe it is because at his core man (apart from Christ) craves peace while being incapable of doing anything but evil. Maybe it is just God’s way of telling me this is what needs to be said. Whatever the reason I hope they are edifying to you and Glorying to Him. 


 

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AMP and RVR 1960 


CONTEXT:

Ezekiel is a captive in Babylon, approx 900 km or 560 miles from Jerusalem. Yet this entire Chapter concerns Jerusalem and the goings on there. It is of course Prophesy but more than that it is a testament to the Power of God and the Obedience of one man to God’s will. 

v.1-4    Prophesy against the princes of the people.

v.5-10  Reason for Judgement upon Jerusalem

v.11-13 God’s Judgement Executed  

v.14-16 God’s promise to sustain the Remnant (Faithful)

v.17-21 God’s promise of restoration materially (land) and Spiritually to the remnant


BREAKDOWN:

And I will give them one heart, – One heart not individual hearts (individualism divides a congregation) but a heart of oneness, uprightness, unified in Spirit. Note in V.18 God says they (we) must first “remove from it all [traces of] its detestable things and all its repulsive things (remnants of paganism)”  You can not be holding on to the old and expect the new. 

and I will put a new spirit within you; – This should be the desire of all who God has touched and called to be His own. It is the promise given to all who repent of their evil ways.

and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, – We can look at many example in the Bible of a hardened Heart; Pharaoh in Genesis, Balaam while riding the Mule in Numbers, Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 to name a few. Nowhere is the bible more clear than in John Chapter 3Jesus first tells Nicodemus that the ONLY way to Heaven is with a new (unhardened born-again) heart. Later in v.19 Jesus makes it clear man has only himself to blame for all his personal woes. 

and will give them an heart of flesh: – As opposed to a Hard STONY Heart God instills in us a Fleshly (malleable, soft workable) heart capable of receiving and understanding His Word.


APPLICATION:

Evil deeds are the fruit of an evil heart. They are not an aberration from our true self but a revelation of it. — Sinclair B. Ferguson

But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it. – C.S. Lewis 

But evil is wrought by want of thought, As well as want of heart.  – Thomas Hood

It should be trapper from these non-biblical quotes than man even apart from the bible recognizes the EVIL within our our Hearts. That evil is like a slow gnawing cancer, left unchecked, eating away at its victim, until one day it explodes into terminal stage 4, or biblical terms complete and full rejection of God. 

Fortunately many forms of Cancer today are treatable, and patients recover to live a “normal” life. With God’s Heart transplant procedure, our Heart of Stone is removed and a new Heart of Flesh replaces it. God is 100% successful at this, never rejecting a transplanted heart

As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn saidThe battleline between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.”  God is calling to us as individuals and as a Nation, to change (Transplant) our Hearts. It is time we reject the clear immoral evil we see going on daily and repent before God. Just as He puts before Israel on notice He is also putting us on notice Deuteronomy 11:26-28

26 “Behold, today I am setting before you a blessing and a curse— 27 the blessing, if you listen to and obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I am commanding you today; 28 and the curse, if you do not listen to and obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following (acknowledging, worshiping) other gods which you have not known…

 

Should We Defund the Police?

BreakPoint Daily

Today’s BreakPoint: Should We Defund the Police?

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JOHN STONESTREET WITH ROBERTO RIVERA

“I can’t breathe!”

The last words George Floyd said to his killers, became the chant of nationwide protests. Sometime last week a new slogan emerged: “Defund the police!” even “Abolish the police!”

At face value, the new slogan sounds absurd. Because it is.

When a CNN news anchor asked the president of the Minneapolis City Council, “What if in the middle of (the) night my home is broken into? Who do I call?” The Councilwoman’s response, that the ability to call for help in the first place was a matter of “white privilege,” was, shall we say, less than enlightening.
Abolishing police is the stuff of utopian fantasies, only possible in worlds without evildoers. Because such worlds do not exist, law enforcement of some kind, at least here on Earth, will always be necessary. To think otherwise is to misunderstand the human condition.

“The line separating good and evil,” wrote Solzhenitsyn, “passes not through states, nor classes, nor political parties.” Neither does it pass through occupations, as if policemen are intrinsically “evil,” while social workers or teachers or protesters are intrinsically “good.” The problem is in all of us, in every human heart

CONTINUED AT: SOURCE

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John Chapter 3 Part 1, The Problem is with Man

 

Our World Split Apart and the Hope of Pentecost

On the heels of my article yesterday Riots and the Need a Heart Transplant BreakPoint offers their take on the matter:

BreakPoint Daily

Our World Split Apart and the Hope of Pentecost

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Christians in a Time of Social Breakdown

JOHN STONESTREET

Think about it. We can go to space. We can instantly communicate with anyone anywhere in the world. We might even develop a treatment for COVID-19. It’s amazing what humans can do. And yet, and yet, we are, by any objective measure, a nation barely holding itself together. Our best scientific achievements and our brightest technological innovations offer no solutions for our deepest divisions or our most serious problems.

Though no one who witnessed the scope and scale of the chaos this weekend could conclude “all is OK,” there are indicators everywhere that our nation’s health is worse than we’re willing to admit. We are what Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn called, in his famous 1978 Harvard University commencement speech, “a world split apart.” Like his audience that day, we too risk underestimating just how deep the fissures are.

CONTINUED AT: SOURCE

 

Is Critical Theory Compatible with Christianity?

BreakPoint Daily

Is Critical Theory Compatible with Christianity?

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If you haven’t heard the terms “intersectionality” and “critical theory,” your children likely have, at least if they are in college or even high school. What began as an academic theory decades ago is now a dominant way of seeing human relationships, at least for many: There are the oppressed, and there are the oppressors.

JOHN STONESTREET

If you haven’t heard the terms “intersectionality” and “critical theory,” your children likely have, at least if they are in college or even high school. What began as an academic theory decades ago is now a dominant way of seeing human relationships, at least for many: There are the oppressed, and there are the oppressors.

In our latest “What Would You Say?” video, Joseph Backholm describes how critical theory reduces human beings to categories according to race, gender, sexual preference and orientation, income, and on and on. Because some groups of people are more privileged than others, identifying one’s group ultimately determines one’s moral authority. Intersectionality, as Joseph explains, is an attempt to solve the problem of belonging to more than one group by measuring out the level of oppression a person experiences due to their various identities.

Ultimately, critical theory seeks to address these perceived privileges and imbalances of power and oppression, and it has become a dominant theory in higher education and in other arenas of culture.

So how should a Christian look at the critical theory and intersectionality? Are these concepts compatible with Christianity?

Here’s part of Joseph Backholm’s response from the latest “What Would You Say?” video:

Critical theory and intersectionality are not consistent with Christianity, and here are three reasons why.

First, critical theory offers a different view of humanity than Christianity.

Critical theory claims that our identity as human beings is rooted in things like race and gender, features that differ from person to person. But the Bible grounds our identity as human beings, and the value every human has, in the fact that we are created in God’s own image. This is something every human being shares.

While critical theory pits some groups of people against other groups based on their status as oppressors or oppressed, the Bible says we are all equal before God: created equal, equally valuable, equally guilty of sin, equally deserving of punishment, and equally able to find grace and mercy in Jesus.

Which leads to the second point.

Critical theory offers a different view of sin than Christianity

The Bible identifies sin as anything that violates God’s design for people, including unjust oppression of other people, but critical theory identifies sin only as oppression. As a result, advocates of critical theory would see biblical practices such as discipleship, correction, leadership, and reproof as sinful assertions of power, if the speaker is among the oppressors, and would excuse sins such as anger, jealousy, hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness, or envy among the oppressed.

The Bible says that we are all guilty before God, regardless of social status, race, or economic situation. The Bible condemns oppression as one of but certainly not the only way in which humans rebel against God.

Because critical theory gets the problem wrong, it also gets the solution wrong, which leads to the third point.

Critical theory offers a different view of salvation than Christianity.

According to the Bible, because we are all equally guilty of sin, salvation can only be found in Jesus through repentance. Our hope is found in being forgiven of sin.

Because critical theory teaches that oppressors are guilty and the oppressed are not, salvation for the oppressed is found, not through repentance, but in social liberation here and now. Their hope is only though activism.

In other words, critical theory has a completely different understanding of who we are, what the problem is, and how to fix it, than Christianity.

Come to WhatWouldYouSay.org for the full video or subscribe to the What Would You Say? channel on YouTube

Resources:

What Would You Say about Men Competing as Women?

BreakPoint Daily

What Would You Say about Men Competing as Women?

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JOHN STONESTREET  WITH ROBERTO RIVERA

On February 29, Megan Youngren made sports history. Not by breaking a world record, or by overcoming a particularly devastating injury. No, Youngren became the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials.

As is almost always the case with athletes competing across gender lines, Youngren is a biological male who attempted to make the U. S. Olympics women’s team. And even though Youngren didn’t make the cut, no doubt he is just the first of many men who will try to seek Olympic glory by competing against women.

And that means there’s more than a good chance we’ll find ourselves in conversations about the fairness of biological men in women’s sports.

The latest in our “What Would You Say?” video series tackles this question. Each video offers clear, articulate, and useable answers to tough cultural issues like this one. Here’s just part of the latest video, with Joseph Backholm’s response to the question of men competing as women:

CONTINUED AT:  SOURCE