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Is The Church a Building?

this is a picture of a "church" building. But is it correct to call a building a church

Is The Church A Building?

Going to Church

One of the greatest and most common mistakes that I see in congregations is the idea of “going to church”. We need to get back to fundamentally understanding the Bible as a whole.  Not just assuming that attending a building once or twice a week guarantees our salvation. Always remember that the old testament was a shadow of what was yet to come.

One example of this shadowing is the blood of the lamb during Passover.  This represents the blood Jesus shed on Calvary.  In the old testament, they had the tabernaclea shadow of a cross to help us ponder weather the church is a building
in which was was a room referred to as the Holy of Holies.  This room could only be visited by the high priest once a year on the day of atonement to offer a blood sacrifice, but after the crucifixion of Christ the veil was broken and we regained access to God without the need of going to a physical temple.

Ephesians ch 2 v 19-22 explains that we are the temple of God…

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the  apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being  the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him, you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

Let me be clear in mentioning that when I say the word church I am not speaking of a building, for Jesus said: “God does not dwell in a place made by hands”.

We are the church, the body of true believers, and by true I mean those who have turned from their old ways and have made the decision to follow Christ. Regardless of our imperfections, God knows our heart and promises His Spirit to those of us who want to restore our relationship with Him.  When we acknowledge this then the Spirit begins to guide us so we may help the body of believers (the church) and help those who are lost, become a part of the church as well.

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Is Jesus and God the Same Person?

A stairway which leads to heaven, maybe to God's Throne

Is Jesus God?

There are a variety of questions that divide Christianity and this one has been dividing believers a long time. The question “is Jesus God?” has been one of those top questions asked.  Since right after the beginning of the church, the battle over words and the meaning of those words has created doctrinal stances in which denominations adamantly persevere to get their point across.

The thing is, once you start looking at scripture, you see Jesus is always pretty clear about who He is.  We observe from His birth the Magi find Jesus and they bow down and worship Him.

babyjesus

The word worship is defined as “reverence paid to a divine being.”

During the recorded instance of His miraculous walking on water, those who were in the boat bowed down and worshiped Him (Matt 14:33).  After His resurrection, Jesus appears to some women and they bow down and worshipHim as well (Mark 16:1, Luke 24:10) .

We have many moments that transpire where Jesus willingly accepts worship, which only God is worthy of according to the old testament.  For God is a jealous God, there is no other God.

“Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” –Exodus 34:14

““You are My witnesses,” says the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no Savior.”  Isaiah  43:10-11

The thing is that in the book of Isaiah, we also see the prophecy of the virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14) and a description of what they were going to call Him.  It says they would call him “God with us”.

Then Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Those are huge claims yet there is sufficient evidence to point us rationally to the same conclusion.  The book of John ch. 1 tells explains the divinity of Christ within the first few verses starting in verse 1, ” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”  If you go down to verse 14 after that it states, “the word became flesh and dwelt among us”.  

There are other instances where this is obvious, such as when Jesus is asked by Phillip to show him the father and Jesus says,

Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

Other verses that are clear in expressing this idea,

1 Timothy 3:16 – And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.

Titus 2:13 – looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our greatGod and Savior Jesus Christ.

Understanding God’s Person 

We All Have Questions

The question as to the whether their exist a separation between Jesus and God.  A trinitarians view is a yes, the oneness view is a no.  Yet fundamentally both agree at the end of their reasoning in God being “One God”.

There is a separation regarding what the word person actually means and this has divided so many believers throughout the centuries.

I want to be clear in stating that the purpose for humanity has been the same since the time of Adam and Eve.  We are fallen and have turned away from our creator.  God wants to restore that original relationship He had with us, yet it can only be done if we are willing.  Once we turn back in genuine repentance, we are fulfilling our purpose.  We all come from various worldviews and denominations and religions and have different ideas of who God is.  Yet, the word of God is clear in stating that when anyone repents and is seeking God, God’s Spirit alone guides that person to all truth.  We have no right enforcing our views to other believers, only God changes a person!

We can read scripture together, and express what we feel God is telling us, and show where in scripture we Get our ideas from, but we should not divide ourselves over these things.  We must stick together and pray for each other like never before.  God will guide His children, that is anyone who turns back to His loving arms.  Regardless of your knowledge and expertise of His Person, or even lack of it.  We will all stand before God, being judged for the condition of our hearts, not our finite understanding of His infinite nature.

My View

this is not what we will see in heaven

When I take what is written in scripture from old and new testament I see clearly who God is.  I would never use terms like oneness or trinity.  I simple believe what scripture says.  Scripture says God is one.  Scripture says Jesus is God.  Scripture says Jesus is the Word of God.  Scripture says Jesus is the Son of God.  These are all things I accept.  Scripture says there is one sitting on the throne.  Scripture says God is the first and the last, and scripture says Jesus is the first and the last.  When I look at scripture, and I understand that we are made in the image of God.  I am comprised of 3 things, a body, a mind (soul), and a spirit.  The spirit in me is the breath of life which connects my mind to my body.  There is a separation in the 3 but they make up one person.  I do not contain 3 different persons within me, but my makeup is comprised of 3 separate parts.  I believe Jesus is the word of God, which came from God, just like your words come from you, but are not separate from you, because without you they don’t exist.  God is an eternal mind and Spirit, and when He spoke through His Word, Jesus was already within Him, but through His Word He created the physical universe.  All of this done by the same Eternal Savior, who used His very Word to Speak everything into existence.  This is my view of God as revealed to me in the scriptures.  Again I wish my brothers and sisters did not place so much time in arguing the specific meanings of words, and understand that most believe in One God, even trinitarians.  But like James says, “even the demons believe, and tremble.”

Our purpose is to pray for other believers as well as ourselves.  That God may continually work in us, so we may preach His message of repentance.  God wants to live in us and use us to reach the world.  We must focus on truly turning from our old ways and embracing our Lord and Savior.  This alone will guide us to truth. Not dividing ourselves every time we see things differently.

Let’s stand for unity.  For there is real and fake believers within all denominations, and God is calling out a generation from within all denominations.  Those who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.

More Verses On The Divinity Of Jesus

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In the Eye of the Storm

eye of the storm from space

Let me bluster out my disdain towards the enemy!

In The Eye Of a Storm is when I believe all is well.

That  is when I am most susceptible to danger.

I’ve been lost before, persuaded to think only of self.

But we can go beyond the mundane.

Though the media tells me to embrace gratifying my own desires, I understand that there is much more to life than pleasure.

There is definitely a lot to this planet, and I refuse to be a puppet to my own selfish thoughts.

We can correct what those of the past were not able to do.

We can fix and protect everyone in the room

Anyone you assume, is a person like you

who struggles till the death and needs encouragement too!

For there is told in histories past that sometimes plans don’t go according to plan.

Yet, with proper planning and appropriate handling life can…

stormmm

At least be understood and show a purpose of I,

not a seeming defining by a standard of mine.

A moral absolute that is beyond the concept of time.

Where we see apparent design deep down the Divine…

We see it inscribed in all we can find

In the old testament we see the house of Israel become complacent many times in the biblical narrative.

They go through periods of living for God and others living for self and other gods.

I earnestly believe that to whom much is given much will be demanded.

God has entrusted us to proclaim His message and its not just pretending and pretentiously claiming to be a true Christian without actually doing the things we are COMMANDED to do.

Let’s unite as a body, regardless of what God has revealed to us, and where we are on our walk.

Yet we should never push our beliefs though we should use scripture when speaking with each other,

and allow God’s Spirit to move in us,

Which ALONE guides us to truth.

We can only pray for each other.

God does the rest!

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Angels We Have Heard, High Up In The Sky

angel in the sky, angels we have heard high up in the sky
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Church History

old ruin used to depict old church history

Church History

Originally the 1st-century church was persecuted.  It wasn’t until the 300’s that Satan got smart and understood that he was not going to be able to stop Christianity so he decided to join it.  This is when Constantine saw the cross in the sky and then makes Christianity, Rome’s religion.  Constantine wanted Rome (a primarily pagan culture) to adopt Christianity.  He did this by mixing pagan culture and holidays with the Christian religion.  It allowed the people to better absorb their new religion.  After this, the church went from being a living organism to more of an organization and we start to see a hierarchical form of the Church where power is in the hands of a few chosen men.  The common people at this time did not know how to read and did not have their own copy of scripture.  The common people saw the men in power as holier than they.

Corruption Continued

Over the years the “church” became more corrupt.  True Christians would arise and die to try to purge the corruption.  Finally, the protestant reformation began.  By now the bible was being printed and translations were being made in common tongues.  Martin Luther paved the road that broke away from the Catholicism that controlled most of the “Christian Church”.  From then, until now there has been a reformation going on and it Christianity is being purged to this day.  There are customs and traditions that were held by our Catholic ancestors that are wrong and are holding us back from a true book of Acts experience.

The Original Church

The original Church had no building.  They didn’t have planned 1-hour preachings by one man, while the rest of the people sat and listened.  Also, they didn’t go to “church” once or twice a week. The body of believers didn’t have certifications and training to be an accepted minister.  They had the Spirit of God in them.

The true Church is starting to see this.  We are waking up to the truth in these last days.  Instant access to God’s word is making it easier for people to see what is and is not Christianity.

We can see through scripture what defines a true Christian.  One who carries the Spirit of God in them, and walks in it.  One who walks as the very temple of God. Once we accept Jesus in our lives and turn from our old ways, God’s Spirit begins to guide us.  We begin to understand that life isn’t about us, but about serving others.  This can only come from first loving God.


Related – Why Most Believers Can’t Defend Their Faith


Church history is coming to a climax, and in the next few years a generation will arise like no other.

A generation is arising now which goes out into the world and not into a building.

A generation is arising now which reaches the lost of the world, and not only praying for their own selfish needs.

The true church is coming out from within all denominations and is ready to go out to the world and to unite with true believers who are not simply playing church, but who are ready to fulfill their true purpose.

God is calling all of us to unite together.  Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors, and Teachers must come together and work as one body.  For separated we cannot do much

Bruce Shelley has a great book regarding church history that is available on Amazon and goes into much  more detail

 

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Why Most Believers Can’t Defend Their Faith

why most believers cant defend their faith dipicted by 2 lego soldiers

Why Most Believers Can’t Defend Their Faith

-Apologetics Defined-

What Is Apologetics?  For those who have not heard the term apologetics, let me begin by explaining that it doesn’t have anything to do with being sorry for something.  The word Apologetics is an old word that stems from the Greek word, “apologia”.  

Simply put, this word means to give a defense.  If you are a believer in the Christian faith, it is worthy to note that the word shows up about 8 times in the New Testament.  One specific mentioning of the word is found in 1 Peter 3:15 which reads, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…”  This basically is a command to always be prepared to give an explanation for the rationale behind your belief.

The Reality Is…

Most Christians are not able to defend what they believe.  As a matter of fact, a lot of times Christians settle the matter by stating things like, “you just gotta have faith” or “just believe”.  These are very weak answers and in our post-modern world that has so much information available, people want real answers to their questions.  (Please be assured that I am not saying we don’t need faith or belief, these are fundamental and essential parts of all worldviews).

One reason that I wasn’t too fond of Christianity had a lot to do with questions.  My mom’s side of the family are all Christians and as a teenager, I was unable to get satisfactory answers from any of them.  It wasn’t until I searched for answers and truth that I kept coming back to Christianity, the religion I didn’t want anything to do with.  The more I tried to prove Christianity wrong, the more I realized there was a lot of evidence that supported its claims.

-A Lack Of Education Keeps Us In The Dark But Knowledge Is Light.-

This lack of education concerning apologetics and defending the faith, is causing a large percentage of our youth to leave Christianity.  Youth are bombarded by different types of worldviews and mentalities, and their inability to answer questions posed by their peers causes them to question and doubt their faith.  Yet,  if one only looks into history and science, an accurate definition of reality can arrive at objectively.

The first thing any apologist must understand is that all humanity is at different places in their journey.  It is of vital importance to see where each individual is exactly. Some people start preaching and shouting at people to repent, but this is not always the best way.  Everyone is at a different place in life, and sees things differently.  Before converting anyone, we need to build a genuine relationship with the individual, and see what that persons worldview consist of.  Only after their frame of reference is evaluated, can we begin assessing their beliefs.

Is There Such A Thing As Truth?

First thing first, if someone does not believe in absolute truth, then it will be difficult to bring them to the conclusion that the bible is true, or that any claims within the bible are true.  A modern way of looking at reality simply states that all views are equally correct.   Relativity is propagated within the educational system along with religious tolerance which essentially state all views are equally viable and acceptable.  And though I agree we should never force a belief on anyone, we also need to be able to explain why all worldviews and religious claims cannot be true.  Logically and rationally, if we say everything is a part of God, it is not the same as saying God is outside of everything.  Both views cannot be true since they teach contradictory things. Either God is part of everything, or God is not.

When someone says there is no such thing as truth, you ask him, if his or her statement is true.  If it is true, then his statement self-destructs because it asserts what it is trying to deny.

So why should I believe in God? Or why should anyone?

 Something From Nothing

When speaking to non-believers the question of origins and first cause is something that cannot be avoided.  It is an argument that is worthy of notice. Ultimately it leaves a question that must be answered in regards to the real beginning that is evident in the universe.  Science points us to a real beginning of the universe and a real beginning of space, time, and matter.  The expansion of the universe points us in the direction of a real beginner.  The question is what makes more sense?  Is it more logical to assume that everything you see around you is the product of random processes?  Can you logically conclude that all the laws that govern our universe moment by moment happened by chance?  Atheist and skeptics usually answer that talking about anything prior to the beginning of the universe are meaningless, yet I see this as a weak diversion and as logical beings, we must go where the evidence leads us.

If You Find Something On The Ground…

When you find something on the ground like a quarter, do you automatically assume it to be the product of millions of years of evolution?  Or do you assume a mind behind it?  If you assume a mind behind something so simple, how much more would something as complex as the human mind require?  These are real questions that must be asked and cannot be disregarded.  All answers are given to this question by unbelievers ultimately pose more questions that cannot be verified empirically and seem a lot more illogical than assuming a Creative Mind.  They seem only to try to explain away a creator by inferring more universes and imaginary details that allow something to begin from nothing, and that non-living something to eventually become something alive, breathing, and intelligent.  This question must be resolved and make more sense than the assumption that a Creator created everything.  There is great information on this here, but ultimately the idea of life coming from non-life is unscientific and cannot even be accomplished in laboratories by human mind’s, let alone by blind and random chance.  

Beyond Good And Evil

Something else worthy of mention besides the HUGE fact that there is overwhelming evidence that the universe had a beginning, is the idea of human morality.  The very fact that we regard certain acts as good, and other as evil is a question that cannot be seen as simple chemical reactions.

Sure, one can easily disregard such notions regarding good and evil, but when facing them directly it is not likely one truly believes what they say they do.

If your wallet was to be taken from you, what gives you the right to say the other person is wrong?

If you witness the murder of an innocent child, what gives anyone the right to say an act is evil?

Sure, some people will say that it has to do with socialization and our environment, but there is a universal moral code that humanity abides by in general.  There isn’t a nation that takes well to thieves.  Or  unjust killings.  Or to be more broad, no one likes it when you take something they love unjustly.  But how are those words justified if there is no real and absolute standardthat we are referring to?

In this following video, Ravi Zacharias does a swell job explaining it further.

But What About Rules And Laws?

Some will appeal to state laws and other authorities, and might go as far as saying that laws are made by people in power and different places and laws exist and are a result of the conditioning of the surroundings we were exposed to.  But we still arrive at the fact that these rules appeal to some real sense of good an evil.  And seeing as the rules in themselves cannot be perfect (since they are always changing and differ from place to place), we need to ask what this perfect standard we refer to, actually is.

So What Is The Point?

When we look at reality, we see that there are huge indicators that rationally conclude the necessary existence of a supernatural being.  If there existed a time before the creation of the whole universe (which includes space, time and matter), then what could have possibly created an expansion from this ‘nothingness‘.

This along with the real sense of good and evil are questions that cannot be easily tossed to the side.

From here on, if we can get the unbeliever to admit a creative intelligence, then we must answer who that intelligence is.

What Kind Of God is God?

This can be done by investigating the truth claims proposed by different worldviews, and testing those claims out.  When we look at religions that teach God is a part of everything, we understand that this cannot be true.  The reason it can’t be true, is because if the universe had a beginning, and the God is part of the universe, then it would mean God had a beginning.

This shows us that God cannot be a part of everything.  God is outside the known universe.  He created everything within the universe, yet exist separate from it.

This points us to 3 main world religions.  Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  These all teach of a God who created the universe from nothing, and who is separate from his creation.

The 3 World Religions

We know Islam was founded around 600 A.d.  Islam claims Muhammad to be God’s last prophet and the Quran to contain the very words of God.  Translating it into any other languages is not seen as beneficial.  What strikes me as strange is the fact that it denies the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, though there are numerous historical sources which speak of the crucifixion of Christ under Pontius Pilate. Roman historian Tacitus writes, “Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penaltyduring the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa…”  Josephus a Jewish historian also mentions the crucifixion as well, “And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, (9) those that loved him at the first did not forsake him…”

Can Islam say that the Quran is the word of God if it contains false information regarding the person of Jesus?

And when we look at Judaism we see everything in their Torah points to the coming of Jesus.  Especially when we look in the book of Isaiah and read chapter 7:14, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel”. (Immanuel literately means ‘God with us’).

Then in chapter 9 verse 6, “For to us a child is born, to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”.

Who are these verses talking about???  This is in the Torah, about 6 or 7 hundred years before Christ.  Other instances in Isaiah describe the crucifixion and how he was lead, “as a lamb to the slaughter’.

Christianity

So we have some scriptures that sound like they are talking about Jesus!  But how do we know these scriptures are true or if they even mean anything?

Well when we take into consideration the bible, we see that it is the collection of 66 books.  These books are written by over 40 different authors from different times and parts of the world who for the most part, did not know each other. Some were shepherds, fisherman, tax collectors, doctors, kings, who wrote under the inspiration of God’s Spirit. All these writers create different writings, yet when read as a whole, they tell one story.  Though some touch on areas such as history or proverbs, they all point to one central theme.

One God, who was to one day come in the flesh and restore humanities fallen relationship with Him.  The chances of this coming about would be the same as if we took 66 works of history, poetry, philosophy, etc.  from the last 2000 years and having them all tell one story.

Not only does the bible make sense collectively, but it also contains hundreds of prophecies which have come true as well as prophecies which are still occurring like Israel becoming a nation again. One of the most powerful prophecies which no one ever would have expected to happen!  In 1948 we see Israel reborn as a nation in a day!!!! Just like Isaiah 66:7-8 “Isaiah 66:7-8, “Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.”

What If They Wrote Prophecies After The Fact?

Some might say old testament isn’t reliable and it was written after the fact, but thanks to the Dead Sea Scrolls which were found in 1948, we have copies of the book of Isaiah that date over 100 years before Christ!  Again, this is extraordinary evidence which supports Christianity.

Ultimately there is a far better argument for belief in a Creator than in a belief in nothing.  It requires a lot more faith to buy into the idea of a universe creating itself ex nihilio, than believing an all powerful mind created the universe and all the  minds that exist.

Don’t Take My Word! Look For Yourself!

This is just a quick post I am putting up but I encourage you to look into every subject more thoroughly.  Each subject could take months to properly investigate but the answers are out there! Connect with us to grow and learn from each other!