Monday, May 30, 2016

The Lord's Prayer

I just finished two series: one on the Ten Commandments and one on the Apostles' Creed.  Both were based on my time with Celebrate Recovery, a wonderful resource to help anyone and everyone healing from either addiction or sin, which is everyone, to heal and to be able to be honest and open about their problems.

At each meeting, recoverers recite the 12 steps of recovery based on AA but with Scripture and 8 steps of recovery based on the beatitutes followed by the Serenity prayer.  As helpful as those are, I feel like it would be more helpful to draw from more historical source and on Scripture.

Scripturally, we do not have problems or bad choices, we have sin the separates us from God and will for eternity unless we surrender our lives to Jesus who lived the only perfect life and died in the only complete sacrifice for all the sins of those he will save.  He rose again from the dead.  Being both God and man he intercedes between us and the Father.

It would be helpful for people who come to church for recovery to recite the 10 commandments to show them what exactly is their sin and why it is so deadly.  It would also be good to recite the Apostles' Creed because it shows what all God has done to both create us and save us from our sins.  Jesus is the only solution to our sins.  Not 12 steps and not my resolve to make better decisions.  Only Jesus can save me.

The Lord's Prayer would be a better prayer to pray than the Serenity Prayer.  The Lord's Prayer was specifically taught by our Lord to the disciples when they asked him how to pray.  The Serenity Prayer has good moments, but is not biblical, is attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr, a liberal, and is not really God's solution to the sin and tragedy in our world.  God doesn't want us to merely live in the world and take its blows.  He wants us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and fight for justice in order to make it more like the Kingdom of God.

So this is my start to the Lord's Prayer.  It is divided into six petitions, so the next six posts will be about those.

When you pray, it is also good to come just as you are and not do anything extra whether it is to light a candle, draw a circle, or any other unbiblical ritual not prescribed by the Lord.  The principle behind the 2nd commandment, the one to not make a graven image, is that we do not try to worship God in ways that he has not commanded.  God cannot be manipulated.  God wants us to come to him through Jesus with nothing but ourselves.  Anything extra that we do is relying on our own efforts and telling the Lord that we don't believe he cares more about us and our loved ones more than we do.  I can't think of anything more arrogant and less trusting in the Lord.  Just come as you are with nothing else.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Apostles' Creed: Life Everlasting

"And the life everlasting. Amen."

I honestly don't have much to say about this one.  Humans will live forever.  God's elect believers will be with him forever in heaven and the rest will live in eternal agony in hell.

If that is the case, then from a recovery standpoint, you need to repent of your sins and make Jesus your Lord.

If people have a choice between heaven and hell, they will choose heaven, but they will not choose Jesus as their Lord and have someone rule over them.  But you cannot have heaven unless Jesus has taken over your life by God's grace and poured his Holy Spirit into you.

But our Lord is gracious and waits to come back to earth so that many people will come to repentance.  If I had it my way, he would come back today and I would not have to hear about wars, Islamic terrorism, liberal/LGBT bullying, and self-righteous "Christianity."  Jesus would come and sort everything out.  But I am not God or nearly as gracious.

Hebrews 3:13, "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called "Today," so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."  I encourage you to come to Jesus if you have not done so already.  He will take away your sins and put his righteousness on you.  Just believe and abandon the sins that you are in love with with a gorgeous Savior who is way better!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Modalism: why it is idolatry

When God gave his Ten Commandments to Moses and Israel, his first one was not, "You should all get along because everybody worships me."

No, he said, "You will have no other gods before me."  Of course the other nations had different gods, but Israel also had many gods throughout their history and God judged both them and the other nations for not keeping his command.

This commandment applies today when someone says he worships Jesus but it is not the Jesus as God has revealed him in Scripture.  There is a non-Trinitarianism that is attractive called "Modalism."  It is attractive because it still calls Jesus God, but it is still not Trinitarian just like Mormonism and Jehovah's Witness beliefs.  It states that God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are not three members of one Godhead, but that God is only one and that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are just manifestations of him.  People who believe this worship a false God because this is not the God of Scripture.  The main celebrities that hold this view are the preacher TD Jakes and the singing group Philips, Craig, and Dean, both within Oneness Pentacostalism.

God has to be three distinct people to be a Trinity, and he has to be that way from all eternity.  He had no beginning, and will have no end.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have all existed alongside each other from all eternity.  They are all God but they are not all each other.

This is important because for God to be eternally loving he had to have someone to love and to love him back.  He has had three persons loving each other always.  If God had not had this, then he would be a cold, impersonal god, the same as Allah that the Muslims worship.  He would have never sent Jesus to save us and would not love us enough to forgive us of our gross sins that should have killed us.

God has to be three separate persons because Jesus would not have been raised from the dead had God the Spirit not been a separate person from him.  If they were all one, then God would be dead and not God.

If they were the same, then there would be no intercessor between God and man for our sins.  God would simply be that unknown god beyond the mountains that many pagan tribes worship and who need human intercession.   No, but gloriously, God is three separate persons, and we have someone in heaven interceding on our behalf, and we have someone here with us to guide us in the Holy Spirit.

Modalists do not believe in the same Jesus that I believe in and are not true Christians.  God can save them, yes, but they are not true believers.  Therefore, I will not participate in a church event that has TD Jakes as a speaker, which will happen at my church over the summer.  I might sing some PCD songs, but I won't attend their concerts either.  Not on purpose.  We need to have a right knowledge of the Trinity to properly worship the correct God, and we need to be more discerning about who we recommend as theologians lest we dissolve into apostasy.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Apostles' Creed: Resurrection

I believe in the "resurrection of the body."

This means that although my mother has passed away from cancer and that, she does have a healing as her soul is with Jesus, I still believe that her healing is not complete.  Jesus will come and raise both the godly and ungodly bodies from the dead.  My mother's body will live again, will be completely healed, and will be made like Jesus's body after his resurrection.

And this applies to me and all believers.  The ungodly people and their bodies will suffer eternally in God's wrath in hell while God's forgiven Church will live and reign this earth, the very earth we stand on now, forever.

The heaven that is now is not the heaven that will be when Christ sets up his kingdom on earth.

For recovering sinners, this is wonderful news.  Just as Jesus has raised our spirits away from the death of our sins and made us so where we can follow and obey him, he will also raise our bodies after they die.

I hope that God will not wait to much longer before he says that time is up and that Jesus can return.