Santurino: "I believe that my words by themselves will never be enough to convert anyone."
This is the one thing i agree with you on, however for me it's not a hobby to preach! it's the only function i can see for myself, i believe i am a messenger of God.
The book you are taking lightly is from your Lord, in 1974 an incontrovertible proof (unlike the bible code) that confirms it was revealed.
That proof was rejected by the muslims because it condemned their idolworship.
What is idolworship? and what is its relation to the conspiracy?
I will try to make short, but please for your sake reflect on this for a while.
Satan wants to claim followers.
Satan wants to distracts us, the human beings from God.
Satan uses the creatures as a tool to do so.
Once you idolize a creature, any creature, you have joined the NWO cult.
The conspiracy is just that, distracting us from worshipping the one god into worshipping several gods.
The brainwashing starts from childhood, someone starts bullying you... you get afraid of him...if this lasts he becomes your god (the extreme emotions of attraction or repulsion create the state of worship, the bond with the creature instead of God).
Later someone tells you that there was a man who was tortured beyond imagination, yet he was so pure that he healed the blind and called for love, he is inducing a trauma to indoctrinate you into the (creature-worshiping cult).
Once you get indoctrinated, you will fall victim to Satan, the indoctrination may further manifest itself in a state of idolizing everything, you start relating the powers (to harm or benefit..e.g: skill, beauty, might..etc) to the creature himself.
That's why many people fall in worshipping celebrities, presidents, bosses, spouses, and even material things, money, cars..etc
Whatever occupies your mind most of the time is your god, if it is the NWO conspiracy then it has turned into a god enslaving you in a bond that will pull you down to hell.
All the miseries in this world is because of this, the failure to relate the powers of the creatures to the Creator.
Why fear the creatures? because you have been indoctrinated, they have become your god.
Why be obsessed with them? because you fail to see beyond them, you fail to see the Source, God.
[2:165] Yet, some people set up idols to rival GOD, and love them as if they are GOD. Those who believe love GOD the most. If only the transgressors could see themselves when they see the retribution! They will realize then that all power belongs to GOD alone, and that GOD's retribution is awesome.
[3:79] Never would a human being whom GOD blessed with the scripture and prophethood say to the people, "Idolize me beside GOD." Instead, (he would say), "Devote yourselves absolutely to your Lord alone," according to the scripture you preach and the teachings you learn.
[4:116] GOD does not forgive idol worship (if maintained until death), and He forgives lesser offenses for whomever He wills. Anyone who idolizes any idol beside GOD has strayed far astray.
DDL, I agree w/ what you're saying. Jesus was a man.. a man through whom God worked, but a mortal man nonetheless. Christ is that from God which is Divine (and immortal), and it's Christ (imho) that worked through Jesus.. but as you're saying, even Jesus admits that he's not "God"..
TrueBeliever, what you're saying is "true" from the standpoint of looking at religion from a highly educated, enligthened viewpoint. which is what you're doing and I applaud you for it.. the but problem is that 99.9% of all people in the world don't look at religion like this, and for 99.9% of all Christians out there, the practice of the Christian religion has degraded into little more than idolatorous Jesus-worship.. (rather than seeking after the Christ from God).
Again, try replacing the white, Aryan-ized IMAGE of Jesus that it's churches all through the (western) world today w/ an image of what Jesus REALLY looked like.. and then see how long before all of Christiandom apostatizes from the religion.. it wouldn't be very long at all (sadly), imho...
For several days he [Saul/Paul] was with the disciples at Damascus. And in the synagogues immediately he proclaimed Jesus, saying, "He is the Son of God." And all who heard him were amazed, and said, "Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called on this name? And he has come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests." But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
In preaching through the book of Acts last year I arrived at the story of Paul's conversion in chapter 9. Then came the summer and our move to the new sanctuary and all the special focuses we have had since last spring. Now I feel very strongly led to pick up the series again.
The more I thought and prayed about it the more convinced I became that to preach from the book of Acts during the last year in our old sanctuary and the first year in our new sanctuary would drive home the point of last week's message, namely, that the authenticity of worship in these buildings must prove itself in how we spread the praise of God outside these buildings.
And the book of Acts is the inspired story of how the praise of God was spreading in the first century. So it is a great model and a great incentive for what worship should move us to do. It's true that worship is the ultimate aim of all the universe and all our ministry as a church. But it's also true that as long as there is sin and pain and lostness in the world, worship will not only be the goal but also the fuel of ministry and missions.
So if God uses the book of Acts in worship to ignite the fires of ministry and missions, then our worship will be vindicated, and the memory of our old sanctuary will be honored and the purpose of our new sanctuary will be realized.
You recall that Saul was a pharisee utterly devoted to stamping out the new Christian movement. But Jesus sovereignly intervened in his life and utterly shocked and stunned him with a bright light on the Damascus road. Paul was blinded and didn't eat or drink for three days as he watched his whole world turn upside down.
The Jesus that he thought was dead was not dead. And not only was he not dead, but he was the living Lord of the universe. Jesus was able to make light shine into the world, and speak audibly to humans on earth, and strike a man blind, and give visions in prayer, and send a man named Ananias with the word that Saul was Jesus' chosen instrument to spread praise to the nations. So Paul's whole world-view collapsed in Damascus. And was rebuilt with the great, unshakable, stone pillars of truth about Jesus.
For several days he spends time with the disciples in Damascus (v. 19) and then, incredibly, he starts to preach and debate in the synagogues. And Luke tells us in two crisp statements what was at the heart of Saul's new world-view. Jesus, the hated, rejected, crucified criminal, is the Son of God and the long hoped-for Messiah. Verse 20: "And in the synagogue immediately he proclaimed Jesus, saying, 'He is the Son of God.'" And verse 22: "But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ (which means messiah, the anointed one, the fulfiller of all God's promises to Israel).'"
Isn't it amazing that the last words we hear coming out of Saul's mouth before his conversion are, "Who are you, Lord" (v. 5); and the first words we hear coming out of his mouth after his conversion are, "Jesus is the Son of God" (v. 20). Surely Luke wants us to see that this is foundational to being a Christian and foundational to the rest of Paul's life as the greatest missionary who ever lived. "Jesus is the Son of God."
What I am praying will happen now in this message is that God will reveal his Son to you in new ways so you can enjoy fellowship and life in him.
What does it mean that Jesus is the Son of God?
1. It means that he is God.
Paul said in Colossians 2:9, "In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily" (cf. 1:13,19). He said in Philippians 2:6, "Though he was in the form of God he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied himself." Hebrews 1:2-3 says, "In these last days God has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of [God's] glory and the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power." Hebrews 1:8-9 says, "Of the Son [God] he says, "Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever." And John writes, "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God . . . and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth" (John 1:1,14).
When Paul said that Jesus is the Son of God we understand him to mean that Jesus is God. He is not a mere man or a high-ranking angel in human form. He is truly man and truly God.
When we call him Son of God we mean that he is of the same nature as God. Fathers create things unlike themselves, but they beget Sons like themselves. C. S. Lewis puts it like this:
When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies, a beaver begets little beavers, and a bird begets eggs which turn into little birds. But when you make (or create), you make something of a different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam, and man makes a wireless set (or a computer) . . .
So when we say that Jesus is the Son of God we mean that God has begotten his Son in his very same divine nature, nothing less, from all eternity. Begetting is a metaphor, a picture, that tries to hold two truths together: (1) God the Father is not God the Son and God the Son is not God the Father; they are distinct persons, distinct centers of consciousness and can relate to each other. But (2) the Father and the Son are one God not two Gods, one essence, one divine nature. From all eternity, without any beginning, the Father has always had a perfect image of himself and a divine reflection or radiance equal to himself, namely, the Son.
So the first thing we mean when we say, "Jesus is the Son of God," is that he is God.
2. The second thing it means is that God has a unique love for Jesus as his Son.
In Colossians Paul describes Jesus as the Son of God's love, implying that the love for his divine Son is utterly unique from the love God has for all his human children by adoption. "God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love."
And two times in the earthly life of Jesus--once at Jesus' baptism and once on the mount of transfiguration God the Father broke in and said, "This is my beloved Son." And in Ephesians 1:6 Jesus is simply called God's "loved one."
So when we call Jesus the Son of God we should have in our minds the truth that he is God and that there is a relationship of infinite love between God the Father and God the Son that is different from all other loves.
But let's ask why this was so crucial for Saul and for Luke that they put it right at the front of the ministry. The first thing Saul proclaims is, "Jesus is the Son of God." Why?
Consider these four truths about the Son of God and see if you don't think the truth of Jesus' Sonship deserves first place.
(1) 1 John 5:12 says, "God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son of God has not life."
(2) 1 John 2:23 says, "No one who denies the Son has the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also." So to have a relationship with God the Father and to have eternal life you have to confess Jesus as the Son of God and "have" Jesus as the Son of God--that is, be in fellowship with him (1:3; 1 Cor. 1:9).
(3) Galatians 4:4-5 gives the foundation of all this hope: "When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son . . . to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." The Father sent his one and only divine Son so that he might have many human sons by adoption. "We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son" (Rom. 5:10).
(4) Finally, Galatians 2:20 says that we "live by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us."
So it was the coming and the dying of the Son that gave us the gift of adoption. So if you confess the Son you have the Father also--have him as Father. And if you have the Son and the Father then you have everlasting life. And not only for the ages to come, but right now the Son of God works for us so that our lives should be described as living by faith in the Son of God.
So it is not surprising that Saul and Luke would put this truth at the very beginning of Paul's missionary preaching: "Jesus is the Son of God."
It needs to be right at the front end of our Christian lives too. It needs to be one of the central pillars in our understanding of reality. Jesus is the Son of God.
I want you all to know the Son of God and to have personal, intimate, hour by hour, trustful, saving fellowship with him; and to have the Father with him; and to have life in them; and to enjoy the exalted place of adoption through the Spirit of the Son; and the gift of redemption and reconciliation and conformity to the Son; and the power of victory over the devil. "The Son of God appeared to destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8).
I want all this for you. So how do you come to know and have the Son like that? Jesus said in Matthew 11:27, "No one knows the Son except the Father." So how will I ever come to know him? Then in Matthew 16:15 Jesus asks the disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Do you remember how Jesus responded? "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." Knowing Jesus as the Son of God is not something that happens by the mere mental and emotional powers resident in human nature. There must be a divine work of grace beyond flesh and blood, so that in and through and behind the Bible and the preaching and the miracles we see the glory of the Son. We taste the divine reality and know him supernaturally.
Is it an accident that Paul describes his conversion like this in Galatians 1:16, "When God was pleased to reveal his Son to me ("reveal"! the same word Jesus used to describe Peter's experience), in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood . . . but I went away into Arabia." Just like Jesus said to Peter: "Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven."
So how do you come to know Jesus as the Son of God and to have fellowship with the Son and walk by faith in the Son and have life in the Son?
There does have to be intelligible preaching or teaching or witnessing about the Biblical story of Jesus. Our text says (Acts 9:22) that Saul "confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ." An intelligible, valid presentation of Jesus is essential. But persuasive words alone do not open the eyes of the heart. They tried to kill Paul in Damascus. "Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you Simon but my Father who is in heaven."
"The God who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Cor. 4:6).
How then do you come to know and to have and to fellowship with the Son of God? You listen to his word, his story (Luke 9:35). And you pray for the revelation of the Father--the eyes to see the glory (Mark 9:24). And by grace you believe and triumph. "Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:5).
I think you are right to say that Jesus was a mortal man who had an intense experience of the divine at an early age, but what you don’t seem to realise is that such an experience does not cause you to go mad or collapse in a heap. It frees you from confusion and grants you an all-encompassing clarity.
We are all “perfect vessels” for such an experience. Why would Jesus tell us to follow his path if we are incapable of it?
I hope that one of these days you will understand that the mark of maturity is actually clarity of understanding free from doubt and uncertainty. Why put up with doubt and uncertainty when you don’t have to?
I became connected to God without having read the Bible at all. But now I read the Bible because (a) I have a copy, and (b) because I enjoy reading it because I understand it.
Let me tell you what took place in my life for this to happen.
First of all, God didn’t come to me, I made the effort to seek God. One day I said to myself “Okay David, I’m going to believe in God just a tiny little bit and see how it feels”. At the end of the day nothing much had changed except that it felt okay to believe in God. Over the next few days I decided to increase my belief because I actually felt comfortable with it (no one else knew what I was doing inside so I felt that if the shoe didn’t fit, I could simply just take it off again!) It was after the first few days while lying in bed that something strange happened to me: it felt like the presence of God flowed into my body, or my spirit perhaps? (I’m not really sure what it was to be honest). I actually rejected it to begin with and the feeling faded away. It was then that I knew it was true. My belief in God then began to expand at its own pace: no longer did I have to say to myself “Okay David, believe a bit more today” because I simply did believe and it increased on its own.
Then, after weeks my life completely turned around. The things I knew I wanted and needed in my life began to miraculously present themselves. Before this I was an outright intellectual atheist who was totally confused, consumed by selfish desire, arrogance and depression.
You should try it and be amazed. The key thing though is that you must believe it with all your heart and not just on an intellectual level.
Anyway, this is why I can confidently say that Jesus was not God but a mere mortal man just like myself who worked it all out much quicker than I.
When I say 'a direct experience of the divine', thats alot different from finding your life goes much better when you believe in God.
To experience the divine directly, to be struck down by a vision of Christ on your way to Damascus, is completely overwhelming.
Most who experience it on a deep level never recover fully or take half a lifetime to absorb the experience.
Others experience this world in a smaller way and are amazed and enriched by the event.
For Christ, with his utter depth of understanding and conviction must have experienced it on a profound level. At a young age.
To not be overwhelmed by it and in fact to carry it as consciously as he did is miracle enough for me. That is what I mean by the perfect vessal.
Mental health institutions are filled with those crippled by the glimpse into the other world.
Still, there is enough evidence, written in an acceptable time frame to account for the many miracles witnessed by so many.
I am prepared to accept that Jesus Christ was more than just the perfect vessal for a divine experience. I am prepared to accept, that for a short time, 2000 years ago, God incarnated into human form and offered himself up as a sacrifice for the sins of the human race.
I have read and heard many "nothing but" explanations for the story of Christ.
The stories of him marrying Mary Magdelain etc... and living out his life cannot possibly stack up against the multiple accounts of his life.
These new accounts are extremely recent and come at a time when dark forces wish to undermine Christianity at all costs.
For there to a be a believable adjunct to the story of Christ it would have to contain as many seperate accounts of Christs life and been around just as long. They are recent phenomena and do not stack up.
By any account the New Testament passes the requirement for the accuracy of an ancient text. Years before first written account, number of copies made and alternative narratives.
I'm sure it's not %100 accurate. What is?
There are a large number of passages where Christ makes it clear that he is God. Not just 'the son' as we take it to mean. I am looking them up. I admit that I thought another more bible savvy person would have leapt to my intellectual aid by now but it seems I will have to troll through the NT myself...and me NO expert on the matter.
DLL, you allude I am some sort of intellectual only, on the matter. I understand where your're coming from completely in your personal story of faith. I did not come willingly to the table myself. I was most certainly dragged.
Will get back to you.
__________________ [size=medium]\"The Office\" is the greatest comedy...ever. [/size]
Rushdoony quoted this: "So when we say that Jesus is the Son of God we mean that God has begotten his Son in his very same divine nature, nothing less, from all eternity. Begetting is a metaphor, a picture, that tries to hold two truths together: (1) God the Father is not God the Son and God the Son is not God the Father; they are distinct persons, distinct centers of consciousness and can relate to each other. But (2) the Father and the Son are one God not two Gods, one essence, one divine nature."
Do you really understand this illogical reasoning, the author gives totally two contradicting ideas and want to convince us that there is no contradiction!
If Jesus is the son of God, then he can not be God!. If Jesus is God, then he can not be the son of himself!!
Perhaps the words of this famous Christian scholar may clarify the missing link.
John Hick : Philosopher of Religion & Theologian
Danforth professor of the philosophy of religion, emeritus, the Claremont Graduate University, California; H.G. Wood professor of theology, emeritus, the University of Birmingham, UK; honorary professor of the University of Wales,UK; Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Research in Arts & Social Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK. Vice-President, British Society for the Philosophy of Religion; Vice-President, The World Congress of Faiths.
I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me’ (14:6)
"It is generally held today that the great ‘I am’ sayings of the fourth Gospel, which I quoted a minute ago, cannot be attributed to the historical Jesus but are words put into his mouth by a Christian writer some 60-70 years later, and also that Jesus’ sayings in the Synoptic Gospels cannot be taken to constitute a claim to be God incarnate - as Dunn says, ‘there was no real evidence in the earliest Jesus-tradition of what could fairly be called a consciousness of divinity’. If this comes to anyone as a bit of a shock, that is because although theologically educated ministers of the church know this, they do not mention it in their sermons. And I must confess that I myself have never said it in a sermon, but only in settings such as this. This silence has been going on for a very long time, and of course the longer you put off saying something difficult - difficult to the hearers - the harder it becomes to say it. When some years ago, 1977, a group of us, who included the Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford, and a former Regius at Cambridge, then Warden of Keble College, Oxford, and the Principal of Cuddesdon Theological College, Oxford, and others, published a book called The Myth of God Incarnate in which we discussed this question openly and frankly, we were attacked and reviled, not for saying what the scholarly world had long known, but for saying it so publicly and with such an alarming title. But today, more than twenty years later, the whole subject is much more openly discussed, and I don’t have any hesitation in discussing it here."
"It’s also well known today - another theme of that book - that the term ‘son of God’ was widely used in the ancient world. Jesus was by no means the only person to whom the term was applied. In particular, within Jesus’ own religion, Judaism, Adam was called the son of God, and is so called in Luke’s Gospel where Jesus’ ancestry is traced back to ‘the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God’ (tou Seth tou Adam tou Theou’, 3:38), angels were called sons of God, Israel as a whole was called God’s son, and indeed any outstandingly pious Jew could be called a son of God. And the ancient Hebrew kings were enthroned as son of God - hence the words of Psalm 2:7, ‘Thou art my son, this day I have begotten thee’. But no one within Judaism thought that God literally begot sons. The phrase ‘son of God’ was clearly metaphorical. ‘son of'’ meant ‘true servant of’ or sometimes ‘given a special divine mission by’ or more generally ‘in the spirit of’. The term was a very familiar metaphor within Judaism and never implied deity. But as Christianity expanded beyond its Jewish roots into the Graeco-Roman world the metaphorical son of God was gradually transformed in Christian thinking into the metaphysical God the Son, second person of a divine Trinity. And it is this epoch-making development that is under question today."