JESUS NEVER GAVE THEM WHAT THEY WANTED — PART 3

From Barack Obama’s Feb. 5, 2008 Speech
From Barack Obama’s Feb. 5, 2008 Speech

This is the third in a series of posts that proposes to answer the following question.

Can you name a single thing Jesus said which was genuinely new, original, or useful?

We had The Presentation Of The Question in part 1. If you wish to understand why we are considering this question and how we intend to answer it, please visit part 1.

With respect to the question above, here we will examine the following.

Why Did He Do It?

This is the thing unbelievers have trouble with. This is the thing that leaves believers in tears.

Philippians 2:5-11 New King James Version (NKJV)

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 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, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What the unbeliever has difficulty understanding is Philippians 2:8. How could anyone, much less God, could humble himself so much? For what? What troubles some believers is Philippians 2:5, the impossibility of ever matching such love. What angers other believers is the notion they should love anyone else more than they love themselves. You see, even the demons believe (James 2:19).

Why did He do it? Because it states the reason so concisely, John 3:16 is the most popular of Bible verses. John 3:17 reminds us that this is only the first coming of Christ. John 3:18 reminds us that we will be judged and those so judged will perish.

John 3:16-18 New Living Translation (NLT)

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.

The unbeliever wonders. What did I do to deserve such judgement? What does Jesus’ death on a cross have to do with me? What is this foolishness?

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”

20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

We like to think “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Such words appeal to our pride. We like to think that our fate depends upon our own merit, but in God’s eyes “all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

We are God’s children, and just like our own children we too need to be made respectful and obedient. Yet here the analogy breaks down for we need God far more than our children ever need us.

Ephesians 2:4-9 New King James Version (NKJV)

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Consider the problem God has with us. He is holy. We are not. He loves us and wants us to spend eternity with Him, but He will not tolerate our rebellious nature, certainly not for all eternity. Moreover, justice requires that we pay the price for our sins, and that we cannot do. What sacrifice could we offer that would atone for disobedience to God? Therefore, unless we repent and pay the price for our sins, what is God to do with us?

Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection solved our dilemma. Jesus did what we cannot do. He lived perfect life, and He allowed Himself to be sacrificed in our place for our sins. When we accept the grace and mercy Jesus offers us — when we repent for our sins and commit ourselves to following in Jesus’ footsteps — His sacrifice covers our sins. We become acceptable to God. Instead of being permanently separated from God (consigned to Hell), we can be in His presence.

Was Jesus trying to do anything new, original, or useful? With respect to what passes for the wisdom of this world, probably not. The Jews understood the notion of original sin, and Gentiles could see the human race is flawed, but consider what pride demands. Don’t we all want to believe that whatever needs to be done “I can do myself”?

What Jesus explained is we cannot do what needs to be done. We must have faith in Him.

John 14:6 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Was this teaching a new idea? I think so. Is this teaching useful? That depends upon whether we believe.

Some References

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU’S SPEECH BEFORE CONGRESS

The video above is from Speaker John Boehner’s YouTube channel.  Frankly, I think Boehner has been an awful Speaker of the House. However, I give him credit for inviting Netanyahu to speak before Congress.

Check out Invitations at Keith DeHavelle. As usual, Keith does a good job of putting events in their proper perspective.  So I will just add this observation:

Whether our sacred Dear Leader was informed or not of Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress is a side issue of little consequence. We should not be conducting our foreign policy just to soothe our Dear Leader’s feelings and to prevent him from having temper tantrums.

What will Iran do with a nuclear bomb? The evidence indicates, based upon their current and past behavior, they will used nuclear bombs to intimate, bully, and attack other nations, particularly Israel and us. Yet our Dear Leader seems have no intention of trying to stop Iran from getting the bomb when it seems quite likely that he could stop Iran.

To defend his nation, Benjamin Netanyahu is willing to go anywhere, speak to anyone, and do whatever is required. What we should be worried about is why our president and our leaders in Congress refuse to behave with the same dedication and loyalty to their country. (from a comment I left here)

If Obama had not made an issue out of his supposed right to approve Netanyahu’s speech before Congress, no one would have even noticed that that was a problem. As it is, because Congress is a separate and coequal branch of government, Obama does not have any right to approve the people who speak before Congress. Hence, the ruckus Obama made over the speech just proved to be yet another grab for power, an effort to silence opposition.

ANOTHER STEP TOWARDS LIBERTY LOST

cares of the worldFrankly, my blogging has taken a more religious turn. Why? Of course, I am fed up with the Liberals and RINOs, but mostly I just don’t know what else to do. With my hand in their hand, I watch my country as a small child might watch a drunken parent stumbling towards a cliff. I know neither my father or my mother should do that, but with my one small voice how can I make anyone listen? So I have turned to God, and He does listen.

Because God left us here to serve, we cannot withdraw from this world. Even if it is not enough, we must give it our best. So what is going on? Well, here is something bloggers should care about.

 So-Called Net Neutrality

Because the topic is currently in the news, if we google internet regulation we will get plenty of hits. What is the problem with that?

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday adopted sweeping new regulations sought by President Obama for how Americans use and do business on the Internet, in a party-line vote that is sure to be challenged by the broadband industry.

The commission, following a contentious meeting, voted 3-2 to adopt its so-called net neutrality plan — a proposal that remained secret in the run-up to the final vote.

On its surface, the plan is aimed at barring service providers from creating paid “fast lanes” on the Internet, which consumer advocates and Internet companies worry would edge out cash-strapped startups and smaller Internet-based businesses. Chairman Tom Wheeler said it would ensure an “open, unfettered network.”

But the rules, more broadly, would put the Internet in the same regulatory camp as the telephone by classifying it like a public utility, meaning providers like Comcast or Verizon would have to act in the “public interest” when providing a mobile connection to your home or phone. (continued here)

When I was growing up, I discovered the news was interesting. Then I discovered the big three networks all said much the same thing. They did not compete based upon the quality of the news they presented. They competed based upon how well they presented the same news. Because the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulated their ability to broadcast over the air, the FCC had control of their licences. That’s one reason the news media is largely Liberal.

How did I come to understand this? By accident.  When cable TV and the Internet came along, I was too amazed to complain about the lost of objectivity in the news media. Instead, what the FCC’s lost of control demonstrated to me is that that objectivity had always been a phony charade.

Here are some other views.

Why Don’t The American People Understand What They Are Losing?

Why don’t the American people understand what they are losing? I don’t know. That is the reason I started the ANSWERING FOLLY series. Yet even after the series is over I probably won’t be able to answer my question. At best, I will just know more about how to avoid being a fool.

Even though our leaders and the educated among us know what such a thing is, we continue to creep step-by-step towards a police state. Our leaders and the educated among us have read about, seen pictures of, and heard from the victims of police states. So why are these people leading us towards that cliff? What makes them behave as if they were drunk?

Those who have been once intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, never can willingly abandon it. They may be distressed in the midst of all their power; but they will never look to anything but power for their relief. — Edmund Burke (Letter to a Member of the National Assembly (1791).) (from here)

On a lighter note and just for fun => Happy Caturday (bluebirdofbitterness.com).

WHY WOULD A MAN HANG HIMSELF? — PART 3C

haughty

Examples Of The Failure Of “Reason” Part C

The post continues from WHY WOULD A MAN HANG HIMSELF? — PART 3B, and this post is the final installment in this series. Here we will consider examples of the failure of reason with respect to our self (For an explanation of the gods of sex, stuff, state and self, see AN ABUSE OF THE IMAGINATION.).

Examples Of The Failure Of “Reason”:  SELF

Those who worship at the altar of stuff take pride in the quantity and quality of their stuff. Those who worship the state take pride in the power of their government and their position within it. But one who worships himself measures everything against his own desires.

Here is an example from john zande. He tells us what Jesus — God — should have said. It is so comical we have to wonder how serious he is.

In the roughly 12,000 days this self-named Middle Eastern God walked the earth he didn’t once mention bacteria, pasteurization, or the importance of dental hygiene. In the roughly 1,000 sunlit days Jesus was on his ministry, speaking to sets of desperately eager ears, he didn’t once explain the sun, the composition of the atmosphere, clouds, or sooth people’s fears of the terrifying blights of lightning and thunder. In the roughly 1,000 long, long television-free nights Jesus had to say something new or useful, he didn’t once look up and explain to his friends the moon (and the tides), the stars, the planets, our position in the solar system, the galaxy, the nature of gravity, light, radiation, or on a more practical note, dispense the formula for sun block. In the three years of his ministry he didn’t point anyone in the direction of morphine, teach a soul about the nature of asthma, epilepsy, genetics, the periodic table, volcanology, the causes of headaches, muscle cramps, prenatal care, plate tectonics, architecture, evolution, or tell a single living being about the science of corrective-optics. (from here)

When we put our self before God, why do we do so? Because God is God, true opposition to His will is not possible — unless He allows it. Satan opposes God because he wants to be God, but few of us make such a deliberate decision to oppose or simply ignore God. Instead, we decide to pursue pleasure, do anything we can to avoid suffering, and fail to consider the cost.

Why do we suffer? No one has a complete answer, and I suspect most pastors will state as much. With regard to the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Sandy. Don Merritt observed:

I’ve heard people say that God must have a plan in all of this… but what could it be?

Personally, I do not pretend to have any of these answers.  In fact, I’m not even sure they are the right questions… there are lots of things that I neither know nor understand. Having a close family member in harm’s way, I have paid this disaster more attention that I might otherwise have had however, and I have wondered what God’s thinking is about these kinds of things.

Alas! He hasn’t seen fit to share His thinking with me… or has He?

We often like to boldly discuss God’s plans for our lives, but in truth, God’s plans are only made clear in His Word, and there only in a generic sense: His plans for us all. Does He have specific plans for me or you?  Maybe, maybe not. (from here)

But we do have partial answers. insanitybytes22 suggests we choose our own suffering.

I really do choose my own suffering, what to get angry about, who to grieve for, what to feel sad about. Suffering is not all bad, it serves a purpose. Our grief when somebody passes away, is a statement of our great love for them. What we get angry over, defines what we care about. How we respond to events is a declaration of our character, a statement about our determination. Our suffering paints a picture of who we are and what we choose to emotionally invest in. It is also a measure of our own resistance. (from here)

However, one commenter, Tina Blackledge, partly disagreed.

The bottom line, suffering is from Satan and is a direct result of a broken creation. The earth is Satan’s playground and he has reign here until Christ returns, which I pray is soon. Until that day Satan will continue to cause further fractures, decay, and misery into creation. He wants to turn the tide so that his most valuable weapon, a fallen child of God, will spread his poison throughout all of humanity. More damage can be caused by bitter child of God, who has given up on his/her faith and turned their back on the Creator. So, yes, our choices do cause us suffering but please do not stop there because there is so much more going on than the consequences of choices we make. (from here)

Satan does have a role in suffering. He caused Job to suffer. Job lost his property. He lost his children. Painful boils covered his body. And his friends told him he had no one but himself to blame.

In a small way, because of a severe allergy,  BJ can relate to what Job suffered.

I cannot imagine the pain and anguish that tormented his soul as he cried out to God while simultaneously arguing with his friends. He really did expect to die. There are moments in his speeches that can only be read from that light. Even more than an end to his misery, he wanted an explanation for it. He wanted justice. From deep within the pain and torment afflicting his pain and his soul, Job was crying out, “Why?” The closest I can come to understanding that pain was the night when I fought minute by minute, breath by breath to simply inhale and then exhale. Inhale, and then exhale. I too spent much of that battle asking God why. (from here)

Job accepted his suffering, and he learned from it, but God never gave him an explanation. Yet through the Bible we see what Job did not. Therefore, in his notes on the Bible John Wesley is able to offer this observation as to why God gave Satan permission to persecute Job.

It seems strange, that, God should give Satan such a permission as this. But he did it for his own glory, for the honour of Job, for the explanation of providence, and the encouragement of his afflicted people in all ages. (from here)

Sometimes we do know why we suffer. Rob Barkman reminds us that our Lord punishes us for bad behavior.

Revelation 3:19 KJV

(19)  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Although we have a tendency to forget this…. One of the greatest blessings that a Christian can receive from the Lord is the blessing of His chastisement.  Keep in mind, the chastening hand of the Lord comes upon us to renew a right relationship with Him, to restore our Godly testimony in the eyes of others, and most importantly show us His love. (continued here)

Sometimes we must even choose to suffer.

Jesus spoke repeatedly to His disciples about taking up their cross (an instrument of death) and following Him. He made it clear that if any would follow Him, they must deny themselves, which means giving up their lives—spiritually, symbolically, and even physically, if necessary. This was a prerequisite for being a follower of Christ, who proclaimed that trying to save our earthly lives would result in our losing our lives in the kingdom. But those who would give up their lives for His sake would find eternal life (Matthew 16:24–25; Mark 8:34–35). Indeed, Jesus even went so far as to say that those who are unwilling to sacrifice their lives for Him cannot be His disciples (Luke 14:27). (from here)

Christianity is always under assault somewhere. Sometimes those attacking Christians can be quite grisly.

The latest video horror apparently released by the Islamic State (Isis) shows the mass beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts in Libya and underlines the alarming spread of the jihadi group far from the familiar killing fields of Syria and Iraq. (continue here)

Here in America as James Atticus Bowden observes, Christianity’s opponents are usually more subtle.

I downloaded the transcript of the speech delivered by President Barack Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast, February 5, 2015. I wanted to see his exact words for myself.

Barry Soetero had some good things to say. Not kidding. But, he dripped his poison into everyone’s ecumenical coffee.

POTUS’s killer lines were, “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”(continue here)

The Bible tells us we are God’s children.

John 1:12-13 New King James Version (NKJV)

12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Just as our children sometime suffer, not understanding why we ask them to do something they don’t want to do, we too suffer. Then, just as we ask our children to have faith in us, we must retain our faith in God.

Romans 8:28-30 New King James Version (NKJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Other Posts In This Series

Postscript

This is for an ornery commenter who goes by the moniker of scout.  He keeps asking about the title.  The answer is at the beginning of IF YOU GIVE A MAN ENOUGH ROPE, HE’LL HANG HIMSELF.