“God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.” Acts 3:26
I recently took a look at Romans 14:11.
For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”
I saw an argument that since Paul was quoting the Old Testament, and since Isaiah used the word LORD|YHWH, therefore only Jehovah should be worshipped and not Jesus. So I decided to look into that claim.
Paul is citing a passage from Isaiah 45. It is valuable to know that many passages in the New Testament affirm what Isaiah said. Here is a comparison of some New Testament statements alongside Isaiah 45:18-23:
|Jesus Christ created us:|
"and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him," Colossians 3:10
Jesus Christ created the worlds:
"...has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds" Hebrews 1:2
All things are through Jesus:
"For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen." Romans 11:36
The World was made through Jesus:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made... He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him." John 1:1-3,10
Jesus was named GOD the Savior:
"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
In the same passage, Jesus was also "God with us":
"So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 'Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,' which is translated, 'God with us.'” Matthew 1:22,23
Mary affirmed Jesus as God and Savior:
"And Mary said:
'My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.'" Luke 1:46,47
Jesus is exclusively the Savior
"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12
A good minister of Jesus Christ preaches that He is God and Savior:
"For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe." 1 Timothy 4:10
Paul, who was commissioned by the resurrected person of Jesus Christ, describes Jesus as God and Savior:
"but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;" Titus 1:3
"...showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things." Titus 2:10
"...looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" Titus 2:13
"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared..." Titus 3:4
Peter affirmed Jesus is God and Savior:
"Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ" 2 Peter 1:1
For thus says the LORD,
Paul gives an authoritative statement about the LORD (YHWH or Jehovah) of Isaiah 45:23. Paul wrote to the church at Philippi:
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
That settles it for me. Jesus is Jehovah.
Don't get pedantic on pronunciation and mispronunciations of Yehoshuah/Yeshua/Jesus/Iesus or YHWH/GOD/LORD/Jehovah. I have made it clear about whom I have written.
by A. W. Tozer God Tells the Man Who Cares, c 1970, Christian Publications Inc, pp 45-48
When to unite and when to divide, that is the question, and a right answer requires the wisdom of a Solomon.
Some settle the problem by rule of thumb: All union is good and all division bad. It’s that easy. But obviously this effortless way of dealing with the matter ignores the lessons of history and overlooks some of the deep spiritual laws by which men live.
If good men were all for union and bad men for division, or vice versa, that would simplify things for us. Or if it could be shown that God always unites and the devil always divides it would be easy to find our way around in this confused and confusing world. But that is not how things are.
To divide what should be divided and unite what should be united is the part of wisdom. Unions of dissimilar elements is never good even where it is possible, nor is the arbitrary division of elements that are alike; and this is as certainly true of things moral and religious as of things political or scientific.
The first divider was God who at the creation divided the light from the darkness. This division set the direction for all God’s dealings in nature and in grace. Light and darkness are incompatible; to try to have both in the same place at once is to try the impossible and end by havng neither the one nor the other, but dimness rather, and obscurity.
In the world of men there are at present scarcely any sharp outlines. The race is fallen. Sin has brought confusion. The wheat grows with the tares, the sheep and the goats coexist, the farms of the just and the unjust lie side by side in the landscape, the mission is next door to the saloon.
But things will not always be so. The hour is coming when the sheep with be divided from the goats and the tares separated from the wheat. God will again divide the light from the darkness and all things will run to their kind. Tares will go into the fire with tares and wheat into the garner with wheat. The dimness will lift like a fog and all outlines will appear. Hell will be seen to be hell all the way through, and heaven revealed as the one home of all who bear the nature of the one God.
For that time we with patience wait. In the meanwhile for each of us, and for the church wherever she appears in human society, the constantly recurring question must be: What shall we unite with and from what shall we separate? The question of coexistence does not enter here, but the question of union and fellowship does. The wheat grows in the same field with the tares, but shall the two cross-polinate? The sheep graze near the goats, but shall they seek to interbreed? The unjust and the just enjoy the same rain and sunshine, but shall they forget their deep moral differences and intermarry?
To these questions the popular answer is yes. Union for union’s sake, and men shall be brothers be for a’ that. Unity is so devoutly to be desired that no price is too high to pay for it and nothing is important enough to keep us apart. Truth is slain to provide a feast to celebrate the marriage of heaven and hell, and all to support a concept of unity which has no basis in the Word of God.
The Spirit-illuminated church will have none of this. In a fallen world like ours unity is no treasure to be purchased at the price of compromise. Loyalty to God, faithfulness and truth and the preservation of a good conscience are jewels more precious than gold of Ophir or diamonds from the mine. For these jewels men have suffered the loss of property, imprisonment and even death; for them, even in recent times, behind the various curtains, followers of Christ have paid the last full measure of devotion and quietly died, unknown to and unsung by the great world, but known to God and dear to His Father heart. In the day that shall declare the secrets of all souls these shall come forth to receive the deeds done in the body. Surely such as these are wiser philosophers than the religious camp followers of meaningless unity who have not the courage to stand against the vogues and who bleat for brotherhood only because it happens to be for the time popular.
“Divide and conquer” is the cynical slogan of Machiavellian political leaders, but Satan knows how to unite and conquer. To bring a nation to its knees the aspiring dictator must unite it. By repeated appeals to national pride or to the need to avenge some past or present wrong the demagogue succeeds in uniting the populace behind him. It is easy after that to take control of the military and to beat the legislature into submission. Then follows almost perfect unity indeed, but it is the unity of the stockyards and the concentration camp. We have seen this happen several times in this century, and the world will see it at least once more when the nations of the earth are united under Antichrist.
When confused sheep start over a cliff the individual sheep can save himself only be separating from the flock. Perfect unity at such a time can only mean total destruction for all. The wise sheep to save his own hide disaffiliates.
Power lies in the union of things similar and the division of things dissimilar. Maybe what we need in religious circles today is not more union but some wise and courageous division. Everyone desires peace but it could be that revival will follow the sword.
Aiden Wilson Tozer (April 21, 1897 – May 12, 1963) was an American Christian pastor, preacher, author, magazine editor, and spiritual mentor. During his lifetime, he was described as "a 20th century prophet." Tozer exhorted the Church to act as those who belonged to the kingdom of God. His legacy is the library of over 40 books written from his heart to the Church.
Be angry but do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your anger. Do not give place to the devil.
…Let no unwholesome word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for building up, that it may give grace to the listeners.
Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. [The Message]
But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you should answer everyone.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
My brothers, not many of you should become teachers, knowing that we shall receive the greater judgment. We all err in many ways. But if any man does not err in word, he is a perfect man and able also to control the whole body.
See how we put bits in the mouths of horses that they may obey us, and we control their whole bodies. And observe ships. Though they are so great and are driven by fierce winds, yet they are directed with a very small rudder wherever the captain pleases. Even so, the tongue is a little part of the body and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles. The tongue is a fire, a world of evil. The tongue is among the parts of the body, defiling the whole body, and setting the course of nature on fire, and it is set on fire by hell.
All kinds of beasts, and birds, and serpents, and things in the sea are tamed or have been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the image of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring yield at the same opening sweet and bitter water? Can the fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a vine, figs? So no spring can yield both salt water and fresh water.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show his works by his good life in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, do not boast and do not lie against the truth. This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, and devilish. For where there is envying and strife, there is confusion and every evil work.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold guiltless anyone who takes His name in vain.
*While swearing and obscenities are fine tools for bullies, this is not intended as an endorsement of censorship by governments or ecclesiastical councils. It is an appeal to each one of us to exercise personal strength in communication, making censorship unnecessary. I don’t want to take away your right to inappropriate or indecent speech. I simply hope to correct the false tenet that obscenity improves life. It simply does not. I laugh when someone implies that anyone is shocked by obscenities. The practice is just so commonplace. In fact, my proposal would bring back the shock value of expletives.
The nineteenth verse of First Thessalonians chapter five advises us:
I quickly thought of six ways that we can put out the flame:
- Lack of communication
- Lack of participation
Lack of Communication
When we neglect to talk with God, it is like withholding oxygen necessary for combustion. Prayer is not a dull religious duty, it is a privilege provided for those who want to talk to God. Don’t waste the privilege. Eventually, a prayer-less follower of Christ stops following Christ.
The Word of God is like spiritual nourishment. When we eat candy bars and potato chips, we can kill our appetite for healthy food. In a similar fashion, we will do harm to our spiritual health when we neglect the Bible. Sermons are good, but not a good substitute for personal reading. Bible-reading is not a dull religious duty. God gave us His Word for our benefit. It will keep us from spiritual starvation.
Fellowship with like-minded believers will provide opportunities for learning, sharing, praying, worshiping and much more. When we do not consistently meet together with other believers, as in a local church body, we are separating the wood in the fireplace. Eventually, the isolated sticks will flicker out and grow cold.
Devotion can be directed to anything or anyone. When we devote our resources of time and finances to games and entertainment over opportunities to know God and His Word, we will grow cold. However, when we make a commitment to God, devote our resources to His purpose in our live, and diligently follow through, our hearts will be able to maintain their spiritual heat.
We need good teaching. A bible phrase for good teaching is “sound doctrine.” Do you honestly think that Christians should get their doctrine from FaceBook memes? Study to show yourself approved to God as a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. When you don’t know what you believe, your flame can be huffed out so easily.
Lack of participation
It is easier to be a spectator rather than a participant, but it is not as exciting. We are members of the body of Christ, not observers. We must be doers of the Word, not hearers only. We need to walk worthy of our calling, not sit and watch the world go by. Action-less faith is not living faith. Get involved. Be active. Participate.
Preaching is rightly dividing the Word of God with a view to persuasion – a balance of all things that make a preacher one who is persuasive.
In 1941, J. Harwood Patterson defined preaching:
Preaching is the spoken communication of divine truth with a view to persuasion.
Patterson explained his definition had three aspects:
- THE MATTER: divine truth | what to preach
- THE MANNER: spoken | how to preach
- THE PURPOSE: persuasion |why we preach
Patterson modeled after Guthrie’s Three P’s:
Preaching must be more than a lecture or a talk. A sermon must tell us how to live and convince us to act appropriately. Daniel Webster said,
I do not go to church to learn history, but to be reminded of duty.
Preaching must be greater than philosophical pondering out loud. The preacher is a messenger who delivers the Word of God to his flock, not intellectual doubt, not speculation, not negativity, but a confident statement of God’s expectations.
To me, a sermon is no sermon in which I cannot hear the heart beat.
It is no light thing to speak before men in the place of God.
…just because the ocean is so vast and his vessel so small, no sailor should attempt to compass his tack in one voyage.
The Preacher’s Vital Relationship With God
The preacher, as a man of God, must thoughtfully embrace the meaning of salvation, must know what is involved, what a personal relationship with Christ is.
The preacher must be in a place with God where he has sensed the Holy Spirit bearing witness with his spirit so he knows he has His touch on his own life. The preacher must experience what he is saying.
The preacher must have had that message touch his own life – the message has been practical to him. The minister must have a high degree of honesty in applying the Truth that God gives to his own life and family.
The Preacher’s Vital Relationship With the Human Race
The preacher, as a man of his times, to be effective, must always be a learner. Read, watch, see. Know the news. Don’t bottle yourself up in as study. Know your community and your congregation.
The preacher must know the times, the issues, and the people in order to learn fresh themes, discern proper doctrinal emphasis, apply proper illustrations and pertinent applications.
The preacher should be the most knowledgeable person in the community. Read a reputable news source. Invest 30 minutes each evening listening to the local news. Spend 2-3 days a week rubbing shoulders with people in the marketplace.
A Christian is a person who has chosen to believe in the Jesus Christ. If you think you are a Christian, but you don’t have faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ, then you are an imaginary Christian.
A Christian believes in the authentic Jesus, the Jesus of the Gospels. If you claim to be a Christian, but you believe in an amended version of the person of Jesus, such as the “good-teacher-but-not-divine Jesus”, then you are an imaginary Christian.
A Christian follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. If you don’t know what Jesus taught, if you haven’t read and studied His words, then you are an imaginary Christian.
If you call yourself a Christian, but behave disobediently to His teachings (love your enemies, be faithful to your wife, speak the truth, stop stealing, etc.), then you merely imagine that you are a Christian.
A Christian does not hate sinners. A Christian is a sinner.
Christians do not hate those who commit sexual sins or any other sins.
Christians do not want God to kill other people. Christians do not want to kill sinners.
A Christian is a sinner who has acknowledged their sinful behavior and nature… and turned to God to receive mercy and grace.
When the enemies of Christ argue that Christians are all “homophobic, misogynistic, racists,” then the enemies of Christ have created an imaginary Christian.
They do this, not because it is true, but because it serves their agenda better. They do this because fighting a straw man is so much easier than actually investigating the truth about Christ and His followers.
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton insulted American voters by categorizing many of them as a “basket of deplorables”. She did this on both Saturday and Sunday.
However, I may agree with many of the words that she used. I have observed that some Donald’s Trump supporters actually do hate people of other races, nationalities and ethnicity.
And then I think that Mrs. Clinton was ill, possibly running a fever, when she made the statements.
Donald Trump has been accused of speaking his mind plainly. He is also been credited with “telling it like it is”. The fact is that Donald Trump simply speaks his mind, he talks like a lot of Americans talk, off-the-cuff, casually, emotionally. I don’t think he is particularly skillful at presenting the truth in an understandable fashion. He certainly doesn’t sound like a New York billionaire. (Cue “Green Acres” theme song.)
Followers of Jesus Christ must be different. Let’s not be conformed to any of this. Let’s be Spirit-transformed people who will transform our culture by the presence of God’s Spirit in our own lives. Some people may find us deplorable. So what.
I recently read blog posts by a “Christian” minister who “hates” when people post the Scriptures: John 3:16, Romans 8:28, Proverbs 3:5, John 14:6 and James 1:2-3.
He feels that posting Scripture is offensive because:
- It provides unhealthy theological meanings, because it implies doctrinal certainty.
- It is an unintelligent behavior, because it squelches critical thinking and promotes blind faith.
- It hurts people, because it is exclusive.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
The blogger hates the posting of this favorite Sunday School memory verse because it naively implies the divinity of Jesus Christ, effectively rules out the all-inclusive doctrine of universalism, and suggests that Hell is a real place.
Furthermore, he accuses Christians of intentionally leaving out verse 17, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
However, our blogger stops at verse 17. This is convenient for him because verses 18-21 quote Jesus making exceptionally offensive exclusionary statements and condemning a whole lot of people. “He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the verdict, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that it may be revealed that his deeds have been done in God.”
We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
The blogger objects to the certainty of this verse, that people mistakenly believe God is so powerful, so wise, so benevolent that ALL things, including human suffering, achieve some greater good. Then he writes with certainty that people who believe that way are wrong. He paints a pathetic portrait of a weaker, more human God, struggling to help humanity, but without a sure hope or confidence of reward or redemption.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and lean not on your own understanding;
The blogger hates this Scripture because it reminds him of the slogan “Don’t be so open-minded that your brain falls out.” He then creates a straw-man who doesn’t want Christian lackeys (evangelicals) thinking for themselves. To him, evangelicals are close-minded haters of wisdom. The evangelicals that I know are critical thinkers who believe in a scholarly approach to hermeneutics.
Unfortunately for our blogger, he doesn’t understand the difference between God’s wisdom and human wisdom. Based upon Proverbs 3:13-18, he proposes that Christians who oppose abortion are “mysogynistic.” Perhaps that is why his rebuttal skips over verses 7-12:
“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your body, and strength to your bones. …My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be weary of His correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects, even as a father the son in whom he delights.”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Our blogger says that this Scripture is the top of his “Favorite Christian Quote Verse I hate” list because it is designed as a weapon against non-Christians. He says that Jesus really intended to tell Thomas, “For you, I am the way.” After all, the blogger points out, John 14 tells us there are many rooms in God’s house, therefore, there are many paths that all lead to the same God.
His antidote to the exclusiveness of 14:6 is the inclusiveness 10:16, “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.” which our blogger tells us the meaning: Jesus is not THE way, Jesus is one of the ways, to God.
So, if you are looking up John 10 to check up on this, maybe don’t read too much into verses 7-9 where Jesus makes exclusive claims to be the “door” of the sheep. Jesus calls everyone else thieves and robbers. And maybe de-contextualize verse 16 where Jesus says that the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, his sheep know his voice, then Jesus claims that he will lay his life down for his sheep, then the “other” sheep will also know His voice. Verses 1-6 clearly establish the exclusive premise that the sheep will not follow a stranger’s voice. Jesus makes it sound like He thinks He is the only Savior.
My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith develops patience.
Our “progressive Christian” blogger adds that the idea of people in trouble finding comfort in Bible verses makes his sick. Well, he says “throw up in my mouth.” because it promotes the idea of redemptive suffering. He says, “James is just wrong” because the best we can do is survive. Suffering makes no sense.
I’m not sure that the Bible promises to reward everyone for suffering. I do read many divine promises in Scripture where God rewards the faithful. One of my favorites is Second Corinthians 4:16-18:
For this reason we do not lose heart: Even though our outward man is perishing, yet our inward man is being renewed day by day. Our light affliction, which lasts but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
In my understanding, suffering makes sense in eternity not necessarily on earth during my lifetime, and the compensation for faith during suffering is only offered to faithful believers. Maybe that is just too exclusive and not “progressive” enough for some folks.
I followed the link to our blogger’s FaceBook page. Post upon post used sarcastic and offensive language to describe both conservative Christians and political Conservatives which he labelled as imperialist white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchists. I may not know what that means, but our blogger’s mean-spirited intent is clear.
I am forced to conclude that our blogger only considers it wrong for conservatives to use communication that some consider offensive. For our blogger, the Golden Rule runs like a one-way street where the traffic exclusively gives right-of-way to subversionists.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the blogger also hates when those who disagree with his worldview quote Matthew 7:12, “treat others the way you want to be treated”, to demand equitable treatment from him.
What A. W. Tozer May Have Meant:
I have read a phrase in some of Tozer’s writings, the “manifested presence of God.” I understood him to mean the difference between the omnipresence of God and the experienced presence of God: “God is everywhere” compared to “God is here.”
For example, look at what David said,
“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?”
“In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
No one can escape from the omni-presence of God. We should pursue the “manifested” presence of God where we experience God’s joy and pleasure.
I have also heard some pastors and church leaders using the phrase “manifest presence” with a different intent. They appear to mean the presence of God with physical manifestations.
These physical manifestations may be a various combination of things: overwhelming emotional sensations, prophetic utterances, extra-biblical revelations from the Holy Spirit, incantations, shouting in tongues, weeping, wailing, uncontrolled laughing, animal noises, dancing, shaking, falling on the floor, smoke, glitter, feathers, odors, angelic choir sounds, rumblings, strange lights, and other phenomena.
These types of church leaders often encourage the pursuit of these manifestations. I have witnessed some of these manifestations used to confirm a preached message, and that sermon definitely needed some external confirmation since the speaker had taken a path that departed from Scripture.
There appears to be a desire to experience the presence of God in our own way, directly through manifestations, bypassing the Scriptures.
There also appears to be a desire to treat any and every type of manifestation as if they were the “gifts” from the Holy Spirit in a way that arrogantly exalts the experience of that person as more “spiritual” than those that don’t have manifestations.
A Substitute for the Real Presence of God
It is my opinion that this second type of manifest presence is a substitute for the real manifest presence of God of the first type.