We are learning how angels spoke in the Bible as a way to know how they might speak today, if they speak to humans now. Many Christians claim that angels speak to them, so it is something we should investigate. The English word ‘angel’ is … Continue reading When Angels Speak (Part 4)
God created angels to serve and worship Him in Heaven. He also created angels to deliver messages to people on earth. Some of those messages contained mercy and forgiveness, some contained judgment and destruction. In this part of our study, we will look at how … Continue reading When Angels Speak (Part 3)
As we saw in the first part of this new series, Christians around the world are claiming that angels speak to them. How can we know if that’s true? How can we know that if a supernatural angel speaks, it is an angel sent from … Continue reading When Angels Speak (Part 2)
Christians around the world are claiming that angels speak to them (video example at the end of this article). Those claims raise several questions: Are these claims real? If real, how can we know that these encounters are really with angels? Are these angels good or … Continue reading When Angels Speak (Part 1)
In the last part of our series about Evangelistic Apologetics we looked at this question – If not, why not? That question was in the context of this question – Are you really involved in fighting in this spiritual battle? We are asking and answering seven … Continue reading Evangelistic Apologetics – The Church Under Attack (Part 30)
“Then Jesus said to them again, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:7-10
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:11
Jesus Christ is God’s eternal Son. He came to earth in the form of a man, lived a perfect life, gave His life for His sheep, and rose from the dead so whoever believes in Him “will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
How can such a simple message with the promise of an awesome outcome for believers be so hard to understand by so many? We have an enemy who is also God’s enemy. Satan, ‘the thief,’ is here on planet earth to ‘steal, and to kill, and to destroy.’
What that means for us is Spiritual WAR!
Radio talk shows in the 1960s and 70s were much like TV talk shows today: it’s about ratings. I was both a radio talk show producer and host during that time and finding guests who would get listeners to both listen and call in was a big part of what we did every day.
One of the guests who could get a big audience to both listen and call was Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan and author of The Satanic Bible.
Why do I bring him up now? Because of today’s date and something I read in C.S. Lewis’ famous Screwtape Letters.
Our children and teenagers are in danger – spiritual and physical. As parents, grandparents and Christians involved in the lives of children and youth, we have a God-given responsibility to protect them. How do we do that and what tools does God give us for that work?
“Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people … Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, especially concerning the day you stood before the Lord your God in Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.” Deuteronomy 4:5-6, 9-10
How often should we teach our children God’s Word? At least once a week during church, right? God says we should teach our children every day.
“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Deuteronomy 6:7
Where do we begin? What is the first lesson our children need to learn?
“Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” Psalm 34:10
The ‘fear’ of the Lord is the first lesson – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7a) – and an important part of the last lesson – “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)
From the beginning to the end, we need to be prepared.
In our last post in this series about street epistemologists, we looked at the Second Step in Faith Defense. We introduced the idea of a ‘complete’ model of biblical preaching which includes ‘warning’ and ‘teaching’ every man ‘in all wisdom.’ The purpose of this complete model of biblical preaching is that we ‘may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.’
“Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” Colossians 1:28
The word ‘warning’ is a translation of the Greek word noutheteo, which means ‘to put in mind, warn, admonish, exhort.’ The word ‘teaching’ is a translation of the Greek word didaskontes, which means ‘teach, direct, give instruction, admonish.’ The word ‘perfect’ is a translation of the Greek word teleion, which means ‘mature, having reached its end, finished, complete in all its parts, full grown, of full age.’
Let’s expand our view of Paul’s warning to the Colossian Christians to see how it can help parents and church leaders deal with the many challenges our children face today.
It’s sometimes helpful to remember why we start things. We get so deep into a project that we can forget why we’re doing what we’re doing.
As I began to write this post I thought about why I started this series a year ago. Here’s how I explained it then:
“Some pastors I’ve talked with through the years about emphasizing apologetics in their church (especially with children, teens and young adults) either chuckle, roll their eyes or get upset with me at some point in our discussion. They tell me that apologetics should not take the place of evangelism. It’s unfortunate they see apologetics that way because biblical apologetics is evangelistic – thus the name of this series of studies.”
After writing this series for a year, let me strengthen that statement a bit by saying that the discipline of apologetics MUST have evangelism, the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the salvation of eternal souls, at the center of its purpose. Anything less than that misses the primary message of the Bible – Redemption.
We are currently answering seven questions about the spiritual battle Christians find themselves fighting every day and have answered questions 1 and 2:
We’ll now look at question 3 – Are you really involved in fighting this spiritual battle?
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!’ And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: ‘Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:1-5
In our last post, we asked seven questions about the spiritual battle Christians find themselves fighting every day.
- Why has God placed ‘you’ in this spiritual battle?
- What’s at stake in this spiritual battle?
- Are you really involved in fighting in this spiritual battle?
- If not, why not?
- If so, how is the battle going for you?
- What part does Evangelistic Apologetics play in this spiritual battle?
- What part are you playing in Evangelistic Apologetics?
We answered the first question. Now let’s look at the second: what is at stake in this spiritual battle?
If teachers are teaching and preachers are preaching the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), no Christian should wonder why the Church is under attack. It’s not a secret. God is not trying to hide from us that the Church is under attack. In fact, God has made it abundantly clear in His Word that Satan is His enemy and our enemy and is attacking us continually using a sophisticated system of spiritual forces working at many levels of life on this planet and in this universe.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13
Ephesians 6:10-18 is often referred to as “spiritual warfare” and that’s not a bad name for what is occurring in the spiritual realms. We may think our enemies stand before us in flesh and blood, but the real enemies live in the spirit world. That’s why God tells us to use “spiritual” weapons to battle with these spiritual beings. A primary weapon we have available to us as Christian warriors is Evangelistic Apologetics.
Have you ever wondered how we got here? I mean how we got from the Garden of Eden to, well, this … life as we know it now.
Yes, I know it’s just a small jump from Genesis 2:25 to Genesis 3:7, but isn’t that really a huge jump from living on a perfect planet to the mess it became? I think it is a huge jump and a big disappointment. I read Genesis 1 & 2 and Planet Earth sounds like a really nice place to live. Genesis 3 & 4? Not so much. I’m telling you, it’s a big disappointment.
But, here we are; all of us in the same situation. As complicated as life appears, it’s really quite simple. We’re all doomed. No, really, we’re all doomed. That is the truth of the matter. We have no hope … without God. And there is the rub. We have no hope without God, so believing that God exists is the starting point for everyone.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6)
But what about people who don’t believe God exists? What about people who believe there’s a God, but the god they believe in is not really God? What about people who believe there are many gods and none of them are the real God? What about people who believe God is in everything or everything is God? How in the world did we go from one God in the Garden of Eden to no God, different God, several gods, millions of gods, everything’s god, god’s in everything?
Back to Genesis to figure this out.
My wife and I were spending a wonderful vacation together in the mountains many years ago and wanted to purchase something that would be a reminder of the experience. We visited several artisans and watched them create beautiful works of art from wood, stone, clay and canvas. Some of the most interesting artisans were the potters who took dry lumps of clay and changed them into works of art. As I watched them work with clay on the potter’s wheel I thought about how the Bible referred to God as a Potter.
As we consider Satan’s continual attack on the Lord’s Church and the work of evangelistic apologetics God has called us to perform, I am reminded of the powerful words of the Prophet Isaiah spoken during Satan’s attack on the people of Israel.
“And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us, And have consumed us because of our iniquities. But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand. Do not be furious, O Lord, Nor remember iniquity forever; Indeed, please look—we all are Your people!” Isaiah 64:7-9
It would appear that things were not looking too good for God. He had great plans for the human race, but Satan moved in while God was away and messed up everything. The devil deceived the woman into eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Satan (disguised as the talking serpent) told the woman that eating from the tree would open her eyes, “and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” The devil was right about one thing – eating from the tree would open her eyes and she would know good and evil.
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” Genesis 3:6-7
What Satan did not tell them (because he’s a liar) was that knowing good and evil with eyes opened would be the worst thing that could ever happen to them and the race of human beings to come from them.
The human race faces seemingly insurmountable problems. More than seven billion of us on the earth and we can’t climb out of the mess we’ve made. Politics doesn’t work, religion doesn’t work, sending good vibes around the planet doesn’t work. We treat each other with little to no respect and care even less.
The first step in solving a problem is identifying the problem. Step two is controlling the problem. Another way of understanding the process is the management phrase – “Name It and Tame It.”
Identifying the problem includes knowing what it is, where it came from, how it works and where it’s going. Controlling the problem includes “knowing, reasoning, choosing and behaving.”
Let’s use those management techniques in identifying and controlling Satan’s attack on the human race.
The history of the human race is, unfortunately, the history of Satan’s attacks on mankind. We see the stamp of his wiles everywhere we look. We also see the stamp of God’s mercy as well. Even as Satan destroys, God saves. Satan hates, God loves. … Continue reading Evangelistic Apologetics – The Church Under Attack (Part 12)
Satan desperately wants to be “like” God. He wants worship, praise and adoration from other angels, human beings and all creation. That desperation drives him in a way humans cannot understand. We’ve seen desperate people who will do anything to get what they want, but they … Continue reading Evangelistic Apologetics – The Church Under Attack (Part 11)
Here’s an understatement – “the Bible is a very interesting Book.” If you believe there is a God and that the Bible is God’s special Revelation to humanity (which I do), then you will find what He reveals about “the” attack on Christ’s Church to … Continue reading Evangelistic Apologetics – The Church Under Attack (Part 10)
“For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” 2 Corinthians 2:10-11
Paul made two important points about Satan:
- Satan can take advantage of Christians
- We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices
Paul was not ignorant of Satan’s devices, but unfortunately the vast majority of Christians today “are ignorant.” We’ve already seen that the majority of Christians in the United States do not believe Satan is a living being. That statistic shows just how ignorant Christians are of Satan’s devices because one of his primary devices is to get Christians to believe he’s not real.