And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.Jude 1:22-23 NKJV
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. ~Romans 1:18-32
According to verses 19 and 20, who knows God exists? That’s right, everybody. So, on the basis of the Word of God, there are no atheists; there are only people who suppress the truth that they know about God in their unrighteousness. In other words, they don’t want God to exist so they can live however they wish.
The following from Voddie Baucham will help frame our discussion.
“Three phrases in this paragraph support Paul’s conclusion that people are “without excuse” in terms of general revelation. First, the phrase, “is plain to them,” reminds us that the knowledge of God we receive from general revelation does not require unusual effort. The second phrase, “God has shown it to them,” reminds us that general revelation is not hidden or secret. The third phrase, “have been clearly perceived,” reminds us that general revelation (Rom. 1:18-31) cannot be missed by accident. Doing so requires suppression.
Put these three together and we see that God has provided a means of knowing about him that requires no special effort, is not hidden, and cannot be missed unless, of course, we want to miss it. And that is why those who “miss it” are said to be “without excuse.” Thus, the spiral begins when men reject God’s general revelation. Consequently, they continue downward and refuse to honor the God they know.” 
Many professing atheists will say there is not enough evidence to conclude the existence of God, or that God has not proven Himself to them. But the Bible says there is more than enough evidence to prove God’s existence (again, see vs. 19-20). He has demonstrated Himself through creation and the conscience. The problem is not a lack of evidence, but an unwillingness to believe. Notice the underlined portions and see that professing atheists willfully reject the truth they know about God and will therefore experience God’s judgment unless they repent. Moreover, they hate God (v. 30). They may deny it, but it’s true. Many professing atheists are “former”  Christians and began to profess atheism either after a tragedy they experienced, or in rebellion against their parents/the Church. This is evidence of their hatred toward God.
Many professing atheists say, “If God were to show me a sign, I would believe.” However, that is also false. Many people saw the signs, wonders, and miracles Jesus performed while He walked the earth, yet not everyone believed on Him.  This is further support for my claim that it’s not a problem of evidence for the supposed atheist. It’s merely a ploy to mask their unwillingness to believe.  If God showed them a sign, they would find a way to explain it away. Because they don’t want to acknowledge and submit to the God they know exists.
Incidentally, verses 19-20 also answer another common question. That is, what of the person deep in the jungle who has never heard of the Name of Jesus? Will God send them to hell, holding them accountable for what they don’t know? This is usually brought up by unbelievers in the context of questioning God’s justice. As if God would be unjust if He were to send them to hell. But according to these verses, we see God’s revelation is universal in creation; God has revealed Himself to everybody everywhere. While this revelation is not enough to save anyone, it is enough to damn them, “so that they are without excuse.” So God would be just in condemning them if they don’t acknowledge God’s revelation in creation. If, however, they go the opposite direction of the downward spiral seen in verses 21-32 and acknowledge God, then God will providentially get the Gospel to them. Moreover, as the Apostle Paul goes on to elaborate in this letter to the Romans, everybody is under sin. Therefore, God would be just in condemning them to hell, whether they heard the Gospel or not. But let’s delve deeper, and see if that’s what God will do.
In His Olivet Discourse, Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come,”  in answering His disciples’ questions about the end of the age. In other words, Jesus will not come back until everyone has heard the Gospel. Whether from a person, or even an angel,  everyone will have the Gospel preached to them; no one will be able to say they didn’t know, or had never heard. How do I know Jesus’ words apply to everyone – that everyone will hear the Gospel? Revelation 5:9 records a song sung by those who are “redeemed…out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” People from every clan, language, people group and ethnicity will be in heaven, so God obviously gets the Gospel to them, and some of them believe. Rather than smear God for not saving everybody, let’s praise Him for saving anybody!
So, while progressing atheists claim to not believe in the existence of God, God says in His Word that atheists don’t exist. “Let God be true, but every man a liar.”  Hence, Christian, next time you are in a discussion with someone and they claim to be an atheist, don’t believe them.
 Voddie Baucham, Expository Apologetics, p. 51, italics in original
 1 John 2:19 clearly states that there is no such thing as a “former” Christian. If they professed faith and no longer hold to that profession, then they never truly believed.
 His own disciples didn’t even believe He rose from the dead when He was standing right in front of them!
 They also have an inability to believe, since Ephesians 2:8 says faith is granted as a gift from God.
 Matthew 24:13-14
 See Revelation 14:6-7
 Romans 3:4
Why is it that in this age of feelings and emotions over rational thinking, everybody gets to define who they are and identify as anything they like, even if it is in conflict with biology and their anatomy , except God? If creatures are taking to themselves the authority to identify as they wish, shouldn’t the Creator and Author of life all the more have that right?
The above image is taken from the music video of Ariana Grande’s new song “God is a Woman,” in which, she is clearly speaking of herself. A knowledge of the esoteric symbolism in the video will further confirm that she is blasphemously portraying herself as God. In fact, one doesn’t even have to have a knowledge of the symbolism to see that since it is blatantly obvious. In the video she is depicted as sitting on top of the “earth” controlling the weather; she is at the center of the galaxy; she even recites words mimicking Scripture! While I won’t address the esotericism in this piece, here are some excellent breakdowns.
The main issues I will be addressing are the natures of God, and men and women. To address the nature of God, we must go to the only authoritative Source for information on God, that is, Scripture. Everyone attempts to define God however they wish, but let’s see what God has to say about Himself.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. ~John 4:24
So God is not a woman. Neither is God a man. God is a Spirit. However, when God chose to reveal Himself to us, He uses male designators. Jesus spoke of “our Father,” “your Father” and “My Father.” 
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. ~Matthew 6:9
I and my Father are one. ~John 10:30 KJV
All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. ~Matthew 11:27
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. ~John 20:17
And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. ~Matthew 23:9
God the Father takes on the male persona; God the Son obviously was incarnated as a man; and even the Holy Spirit is described in male terms.
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. ~John 14:26
But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: ~John 15:26
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. ~John 16:13
So all three Persons of the Trinity use male designators. But in order to give us a fuller picture of His nature, God reveals His motherly attributes.
As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. ~Isaiah 66:13
But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. ~Isaiah 49:14-16
I should also point out that in the book of Proverbs, wisdom is often personified as a woman.
Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets ~Proverbs 1:20
Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman ~Proverbs 7:4
Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? ~Proverbs 8:1
Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars ~Proverbs 9:1
Now to the nature of men and women.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. ~Genesis 1:27
Both men and women are created in the image of God and reflect it in different ways. Men in His fatherly loving discipline and leadership, and women in His nurturing capacity.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. ~Hebrews 12:7-10
So, to repeat, God is neither man nor woman. He is transcendent, above all. He simply “is.” But both men and women, in different ways, reflect God’s glorious attributes.
And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM ~Exodus 3:14
 Be it either transgenderism or even transracialism!
 Despite some denominations’ attempt to remove gender-related language for God
“Transcendent,” “unifying,” these and many other such words were used to describe the Washington Capitals recent Stanley Cup victory and ensuing celebration. While my argument could be made for any sports championship, it occurred to me over the last few days. And since the Capitals are my team and represent my city, I’m making it now. 🙂
As you may or may not know, it had been 26 years since the nation’s capital had experienced a championship in one of the four major sports (sorry to any soccer and tennis fans, they didn’t make the cut). So when the Caps clinched the Cup on June 7, the championship-starved city erupted in jubilant celebration. Fans cried, laughed, and partied in the streets painting the town red. (Haha, “Rock the Red.” Get it?)
We finished teaching through Acts, now we’re going through the small epistle of Jude. This post provides an excellent summary of our next teaching. -JC
On Good Friday, my brother and I went to see the new movie Paul, Apostle of Christ. I had wanted to see it since it coincided with us finishing up our study of Acts and the end of Paul’s life the upcoming Sunday in church. I was interested in seeing how accurate it was going to be, and, honestly, my expectations were not very high. As I’m sure you know, Hollywood doesn’t exactly have the best track record in producing Biblically accurate movies (see Russell Crowe’s Noah, for example). To my surprise, however, I thought Paul, Apostle of Christ was astonishingly accurate, with a few minor exceptions, which I will address. But I did appreciate the consideration for Biblical accuracy. I will also discuss what I did like and what I did not. (Potential spoilers!)
First, I liked that it was well-made with good acting, and excellent production value, in my opinion. Despite having a relatively small budget, they managed to construct a believable first century Rome. We saw tender moments, conflict and conflict resolution both between individuals and among groups, and emotional, gut-wrenching moments. When the movie ended, no one in the theatre moved. It was that powerful.
I did not like the few (relatively minor) Scriptural/chronological inaccuracies that I noticed.
- The first is that the setting of the movie had Luke writing Acts during Paul’s second imprisonment, when I believe the evidence favors Luke writing it during his first.
- The movie script has Paul saying, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” To which Luke responds, “That’s brilliant!” Then Paul urges him to “write it down.” You’ll recognize the quote from Philippians 1:21, which Paul had written from Rome during his first imprisonment with the pen of Epaphroditus – not Luke (according to an endnote in the KJV). It was already written down.
- Near the end of the movie, as Paul is about to be beheaded, Luke is portrayed giving Paul’s last letter, 2 Timothy, to Aquila for him to deliver to Timothy. However, it’s unlikely that Aquila delivered the letter to Timothy, since Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4:19, “Salute…Aquila.” So Aquila was probably already with Timothy, rather than delivering the letter to him.
(Image taken from a t-shirt available from Wrath and Grace)
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central tenet of Christianity. Without it, Christianity crumbles. Or, to put it another way, if it could be proven that Jesus did not rise from the dead, Christianity would cease to exist.  Why? Because those who served as the foundational stones of the Church, the Apostles,  would be proven to be false witnesses,  since they clearly testified that Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus sent them to preach to the very people who had Him crucified – the Pharisees and Jewish people – and proclaim His resurrection with the power to perform signs and wonders to back up their claim. It was the number one topic of their preaching in the Book of Acts.
Since Luke, the author of the Gospel bearing his name and the book of Acts, tells us that Jesus “shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs” , let’s look at some of those proofs primarily from his second volume.
Many of these proofs center on the disciples’ shared experiences, meaning they could not have dreamed or hallucinated Jesus’ resurrection.
What They Saw
First, according to Acts 1:3, Jesus appeared to them multiple times over a 40 day period. They occurred during this definite period of time, and then after He ascended into heaven, the appearances stopped – with the notable exception of Paul, to whom Jesus appeared “as of one born out of due time.”  This displays consistency among their testimonies. None of them had a private visitation at a later date to receive additional revelation, but once Jesus ascended, the visitations ended.
Multiple people witnessed Jesus alive after His death. 1 Corinthians 15:6 asserts that more than 500 people saw Jesus at the same time, possibly at His Ascension. Two people do not have the same hallucination experience, much less 500!
What They Heard
Acts 1:3 also says that Jesus spoke with them, and verses 4-9 records some of what He said. All of the Apostles heard the same thing and obeyed Jesus’ command to stay in Jerusalem. Had this been a hallucination, their accounts would differ, but they all heard and preached the same message.
More Shared Experiences
Jesus assembled with the disciples in verse 4, and we know Jesus ate with them on at least two occasions.  Had they hallucinated Jesus appearing and eating before them, when the experience was over, the food would have still been there. Because hallucinations don’t eat! 
On the night before Jesus was crucified, He promised to send the Holy Spirit after He would rise from the dead and ascend to the Father.  In between His Resurrection and Ascension, He reiterated that promise.  So, when the Holy Spirit came as recorded in the second chapter of Acts, empowering His Apostles to speak in languages they didn’t know and to boldly preach the Gospel, in fulfilment of this promise, it served as proof that Jesus in fact rose from the dead.
Lastly, the Book of Acts itself exists as evidence of Jesus’ resurrection. Luke wrote that his first volume, his Gospel, was about “all that Jesus began both to do and teach,”  implying that this second volume would be about what Jesus continues to do through His Church. Jesus’ ongoing work through the Church in Acts and throughout history prove He’s alive!
How can I make this claim? As I said at the beginning, the disciples preached the resurrection of Jesus to the very people who had Him crucified, who hated Him. Had there been any evidence to the contrary, His enemies wouldn’t have hesitated to present it and shut the Apostles up.  But since they couldn’t, they tried persecuting them. That didn’t work either, but only helped the Gospel spread even more.
One skeptical theory is that the disciples made these experiences up. However, that theory doesn’t fly when one considers that every one of them were persecuted and/or martyred for their confession of Christ. People die for lies all the time, but people don’t die for what they know is a lie. If the disciples had concocted the story of Jesus’ resurrection, at least one of them would have caved and admitted to it once the beating started. Yet none of them did. This serves as a powerful piece of evidence in favor of Jesus’ resurrection.
These are only a few proofs that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. If we examined further, we could uncover more, but these are sufficient for us to determine on the basis of the evidence that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. Returning to the verse cited at the beginning, Acts 1:3 says that Jesus “shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs.” This is the only time the word “infallible” occurs in the New Testament, and it means “that from which something is surely and plainly known; on indubitable evidence, a proof; demonstrable proofs” . In modern vernacular, we could say that Jesus proved to His disciples that He was alive beyond a shadow of a doubt. So we can definitively say, “But now is Christ risen from the dead…” . The disciples’ experience was not a hallucination, and Jesus was not a mirage, spirit, phantom, or zombie.
He is risen!
 If Jesus is still dead, not only would Christianity be, but so would we be, in our sins. (1 Cor. 15:17)
 Ephesians 2:20
 1 Corinthians 15:15
 Acts 1:3, italics added
 1 Corinthians 15:8
 Luke 24:41-43, John 21:1-15
 Neither do spirits or ghosts, so incidentally this also proves that Jesus rose from the dead bodily.
 John 16:7, 14:16-20
 Acts 1:5, 8
 Acts 1:1, italics added
 His enemies knew Jesus rose from the dead and tried to bribe the Roman soldiers to keep them quiet.
 Strong’s Concordance
 1 Corinthians 15:20
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5 KJV
King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds. ~Acts 26:27-29
The fateful words of verse 28, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian,” were uttered by King Herod Agrippa II at the end of Paul’s testimony before him, Festus the governor and other high profile guests.  As far as we know, Agrippa never became a Christian, and so is eternally regretting these words. Earlier in Acts, Paul also stood before the governor Felix, who trembled with conviction as Paul “reasoned of righteousness, temperance and judgment to come,”  but shook it off and never repented. So, even though the word is never used regarding Felix, we could say he also was “almost” a Christian, experiencing conviction but not repentance. If you want to make sure that you are not merely almost, but altogether a Christian, then please keep reading, as we see what we can learn from these two cases.
A book I highly recommend to discover if you are an altogether Christian – other than the book of 1 John – is The Almost Christian Discovered by Puritan Matthew Mead. In it he exhorts the reader  to “examine yourselves, [to see] whether [you] be in the faith,”  to “make your calling and election sure.”  He talks about the dangers of being an almost Christian and gives several illustrations from Scripture. Please allow me to give you a couple of examples from the book:
- A man may hate sin, and yet be but almost a Christian. 
- A man may have great hopes of heaven, great hopes of being saved, and yet be but almost a Christian. 
Following are a few lessons we can learn from almost Christians Felix and Agrippa in the same style as Mead. May we heed their warnings.
The above image is obviously meant to make fun of Christianity and the Gospel, but it actually demonstrates what’s so amazingly beautiful about the Gospel: that anyone through repentance and faith can be forgiven! It’s available to all. I’ll demonstrate from two instances in the Bible.
- Joseph was hated by his eleven brothers. They wanted to kill him, but they decided to sell him into slavery, so he ended up a slave in Egypt. Years later, there is a famine, and they come to Joseph, now second in command in Egypt, looking for food. Joseph recognizes them, but they don’t recognize him, believing him to be dead. Does Joseph harbor resentment, bitterness, hatred and unforgiveness towards them? No, Joseph forgives them and they have been in heaven together for about 4,000 years. 
- A man named Stephen gets up and preaches a sermon. A mob then attacks him, falsely accuses him and stones him to death. Saul, a Pharisee and likely the ringleader of the mob, held the garments of those who stoned Stephen. Saul then went on a rampage persecuting and killing Christians wherever he could find them. As he was on his way to Damascus to continue his rampage, Jesus appears to him and he becomes that which he hated most: a Christian. Now, Saul (now known as the Apostle Paul), and those he murdered – including Stephen – have been in heaven together for about 2,000 years. 
Here is what an early church father had to say about Stephen and Paul’s current relationship:
Now Paul rejoices with Stephen, and together they delight in the glory of Christ, together they exalt, together they reign. Stephen went first, killed by the stones thrown by Paul, but Paul followed after, helped by the prayer of Stephen. This is surely the true life, a life in which Paul feels no shame because of Stephen’s death, and Stephen delights in Paul’s companionship, for love fills them both with joy. Stephen’s love prevailed over the cruelty of the mob, and Paul’s love covered the multitude of his sins; for both of them it was love that won the kingdom of heaven.” ~Fulgentius of Ruspe (468-533) 
Such beautiful reconciliation because of the Gospel.
The above meme also takes a subtle jab at the justice of God, that God is somehow unjust to allow both a murderer and an innocent child into heaven. But as we saw in another refutation of an atheist meme, the Gospel satisfies God’s justice. If the hypothetical murderer of the meme did indeed repent, then his sins were paid for by Jesus on the Cross. And the young boy will be delighted to see him in heaven, as there is always joy in heaven when a sinner repents. 
Many unbelievers love to say that for God to sentence people to an eternity in hell is too harsh of a punishment, but then this meme makes fun of the Gospel message which if a murderer believes, he can be forgiven and go to heaven. You can’t have it both ways!
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. 
 See Genesis 37-50
 See Acts 7-9
 A monk who became bishop of Ruspe in North Africa. He was persecuted and forced to flee numerous times under Arian political powers. He wrote frequently against Arianism and Pelagianism. Excerpt taken from the reading “Stephen and Paul,” #216 Daily Devotions from the Early Church
 Luke 15:10
 1 Corinthians 1:18