Christianity vs. Religion

The next time someone tells you that religion is a personal thing and that you should keep it to yourself, think of this verse, Isaiah 58:1, because “religion” is empty hypocrisy and should be kept to oneself. But God has opened the door of everlasting life through the gospel, and that message should be shouted from the housetops. Lift up your voice like a trumpet, and use God’s Law as Jesus did, to show this people their transgressions.

However, when you obey this verse, the ungodly will reprove you. They may tell you to instead speak about God’s love, accuse you of being self-righteous, tell you to “judge not lest you be judged,” and even insist that Jesus didn’t talk about sin.

“Religion is hanging around the cross. Christianity is hanging on the cross.” Stephen Hill

Isaiah 58:1“Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins.

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Everything that comes to us…

Job took the good with the bad, and gave God thanks. He knew that everything that comes to us comes by the will of God. There is His permissive will, and His perfect will. God obviously allows certain seemingly bad events to come to us, and we have His promise that whatever life throws at us is only for our good (Rom. 8:28).

Job 1:21And he said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,

And naked shall I return there.

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;

Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

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The spirituality of the Ten Commandments.

Ezra and the Levites caused the people to understand the Law by presenting it distinctly, giving its sense, and helping them comprehend its meaning. We do the same by opening up the spirituality of the Ten Commandments. We tell our hearers that God sees their thoughts, and that He requires truth in the inward parts. We make clear that God considers lust to be adultery and hatred to be murder, etc. We explain that God’s holy, perfect, just, and good Law is the measure against which they will be judged. Those who hear and understand will find a place of contrition before God (v. 9) and at that point will be receptive to the gospel of grace.

“How the people were wounded with the words of the Law that were read to them. The Law works death and speaks terror; shows men their sins and their misery and danger because of sin, and it thunders a curse against every one that continues not in every pact of his duty.

“Therefore, when they heard it they all wept. It was a good sign that their hearts were tender, like Josiah’s when he heard the words of the Law. They wept to think how they had offended God and exposed themselves, by their many violations of the Law; when some wept, all wept, for they all saw themselves guilty before God.” Matthew Henry

Nehemiah 8:9And Nehemiah, who was the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn nor weep.” For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the Law.

 

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A literal, 6 day creation.

Most theologians throughout church history agree that in using the phrase “the evening and the morning were the first day,” the creation account in Genesis is speaking of a literal 24- hour day, rather than a general time or a period of years.

“To understand the meaning of ‘day’ in Gen. 1, we need to determine how the Hebrew word for ‘day,’ yom, is used in the context of Scripture…A number, and the phrase ‘evening and morning,’ are used for each of the six days of creation (Gen. 1:5,8,13,19,23,31). Outside Gen. 1, yom is used with a number 359 times, and each time it means an ordinary day—why would Genesis 1 be the exception?

“Outside Gen. 1, yom is used with the word ‘evening’ or ‘morning’ 23 times. ‘Evening’ and ‘morning’ appear in association, but without yom, 38 times. All 61 times the text refers to an ordinary day—why would Genesis 1 be the exception?

“In Genesis 1:5, yom occurs in context with the word ‘night.’ Outside of Gen. 1, ‘night’ is used with yom 53 times—and each time it means an ordinary day. Why would Gen. 1 be the exception? Even the usage of the word ‘light’ with yom in this passage determines the meaning as ordinary day.

“There are words in biblical Hebrew (such as olamor qedem) that are very suitable for communicating long periods of time, or indefinite time, but none of these words are used in Gen. 1. Alternatively, the days or years could have been compared with grains of sand if long periods were meant. If we are prepared to let the words of the language speak to us in accord with the context and normal definitions, without being influenced by outside ideas, then the word for ‘day’ found in Gen. 1—which is qualified by a number, the phrase ‘evening and morning’ and for Day 1 the words ‘light and darkness’—obviously means an ordinary day (about 24 hours).” Ken Ham, et al., The New Answers Book

Hebrews 4:4For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh dayin this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”

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“How can we be sure our motive for witnessing is right?”

Ask God to search out your motives. However, even if your heart is not in the right place (I’m not talking about sin, but that you are going because of a sense of guilt or obligation), you should still go. If you were rescued from a burning building by a fireman who left the firehouse because he felt guilty not coming to the fire, as far as you are concerned, his motive for rescuing you is irrelevant. All that matters is that he did. So don’t get hung up on why you reach out to the lost, just do it, while there is still time. The quality is in the seed, not in the sower. This gives great consolation to those of us who feel we lack ability.

However, some who are worried about motive may lack motivation themselves. Love for God and love for the lost is all we need. Jesus told us to go, and gave us the Holy Spirit to help us. So if you are waiting for the “prompting” of the Holy Spirit to witness, just ask yourself if the people you are waiting to witness to fit the category Jesus mentioned in Mark 16:15: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every [person].” The word “every” puts them in the “need to hear the gospel” category. If you were sitting in one of the Titanic’s lifeboats, with plenty of room on board, would you look to the captain for his approval before you reached out to each drowning person, when he has already commanded you to reach everyone you can? Of course not. A good rule of thumb is: if they are breathing, they need to hear the gospel. Regardless of motive, the important thing is that Christ is preached.

Philippians 1:18What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

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Nothing quiet about his birth.

“In the Incarnation, God masterminds the announcement of the good news of the birth of Christ. He sends prophets well in advance to foretell the coming of the Messiah. He commissions an angel to announce the birth to a virgin. He sets a new star in the heavens to summon wise men from the East. He sends a company of singing angels to pronounce Christ’s birth to the shepherds in the fields. He quickens Anna the prophetess to declare the arrival of the Messiah on his day of circumcision. Though Christ was born in a lowly manger, there was nothing quiet about his birth.” John Witte, Jr.

Luke 2:38And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

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The choice is ours.

Some believe that, because the Bible the incident in Judges 11:39, it was somehow condoning it, and that the action pleased God. However, God clearly condemns this detestable pagan practice as an “abomination” (see Jer. 7:31; 32:35). The Scriptures are given to us for our instruction. We can learn life-lessons from all the stupid things that men and women did in the Bible. Noah became drunk and shamed himself. Saul became jealous and destroyed his life. Judas was a hypocrite and ended up killing himself. Peter slept when he should have been in prayer, and denied his Lord. David let lust into his heart, and committed adultery and murder. These incidents were written for our admonition, and we can either humbly learn from them or proudly walk down the same tragic path. The choice is ours.

Judges 11:39 And it was so at the end of two months that she returned to her father, and he carried out his vow with her which he had vowed. She knew no man.

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