Nuggets – The Sinner’s Prayer

The Sinner’s Prayer
“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13)

Evangelists have often urged lost men and women to pray this “sinner’s prayer” if they desired to be saved. The account does say that this publican, after praying thus, “went down to his house justified” (v. 14).

But there is more here than appears on the surface. It is not merely God’s mercy that is needed for He has already been merciful to let us continue to live at all. The word translated “merciful” is used only one other time in the New Testament and is there translated “make reconciliation for.” Speaking of the saving work of Christ, it says that He came “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). It is also closely related to the words for “propitiation” and “mercy seat.”

This parable of the Pharisee and the publican is set in the context of the Jewish temple worship, where sinners would bring their sacrificial offerings to cover their sins, knowing that “it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). Such sacrifices were completely worthless, however, if offered in a spirit of religious pride and/or self-righteousness, like those of the Pharisee. There must be repentance and faith in God’s promise of forgiveness through the death of an innocent substitute, pre-figuring the true Lamb of God whose coming death would truly make eternal reconciliation for the sins of the people. The publican prayed in this vein, and he was saved.

In our day, on the other side of the cross, a sinner’s saving prayer must say, in effect: “God, be propitiated to me on the basis of the death of Christ for my sins.” Such a prayer, offered in sincere repentance and faith in God’s promise, brings justification before God. HMM
From the Institute for Creation Research

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25 Songs of Christmas #9 Little Drummer Boy

Let us see Jesus in us this Chistmas.

THE RIVER WALK

Have you bought all your presents yet? You’ve made the list. You’ve checked it twice. How do you determine what presents to give the naughty and the nice? For that matter, how do you determine what present to give grouchy old Aunt Matilda? No matter what you buy her, she’s gonna complain. Do you do your best to personalize your gifts or do you just buy ten of something and that covers all your male coworkers, ten of something else else and the ladies are covered? How much thought goes into each gift? How much money?

At various points in my life, I have either absolutely loved or completely hated the buying of gifts. In my early post-college years I led a campaign in my family to do away with the buying of gifts altogether. Instead we would each buy a ten dollar gift for an exchange game and then…

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Nuggets – Instant Creation

Instant Creation
“Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.” (Psalm 148:5)

Certain Christian intellectuals today are promoting the concept of what they call “process creation,” a euphemism for theistic evolution. This is a contradiction in terms, however, for creation by definition is supernatural and instantaneous. The Bible makes this plain.

Our text is in one of the beautiful “hallelujah” psalms in which the entire creation is exhorted to praise the Lord. The sun, moon, and all the heavens are included, and then the testimony of our text is given. As soon as God commanded, they were created, not over long ages, but immediately! God said “Let there be . . .” and it was so.

This is especially emphatic in the 33rd Psalm: “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. . . . For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:6, 9). This is also the testimony in the great “faith” chapter, Hebrews 11. The very first object of faith is the following: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3). That is, the things that are seen (sun, moon, stars, etc.) were not made out of preexisting materials (things that appear), but by the spoken word of God.

There is not any need at all to compromise either God’s omnipotence or His inerrant Word by such devices as theistic evolution, progressive creation, or process creation, for no natural “process” could ever generate the complex and beautifully organized systems of the creation. Compromising evangelical scientists and theologians who are intimidated by the ungodly philosophy of evolution should be corrected, not accommodated. HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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A Season of Hope


Hope comes from unexpected places.

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Nuggets – The Invitations of Christ

The Invitations of Christ
“He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.” (John 1:39)

This is the first of the gracious invitations of the Lord Jesus to “come” to Him. On this occasion, right after His baptism by John, He invited two potential disciples to come with Him to His dwelling place. Very likely, this was an outdoor mat somewhere, for He soon afterwards acknowledged that “the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). Nevertheless, one night of abiding with Jesus changed their lives. Soon afterwards, He issued another invitation to them. “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17), and they never went home again. First He invites us to come to see and know Him, then to come with Him to win others.

There is also the wonderful invitation to come to Him for relief from our burdens and cares. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). And note His promise to those who do accept His invitation: “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

There were also personal invitations. To Zacchaeus, the seeking sinner glimpsing Jesus from a sycamore tree, He said, “come down; for to day I must abide at thy house” (Luke 19:5). To His friend Lazarus, dead and bound in a tomb, He cried, “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43), and not even the grave could prevent his accepting such a call.

There are other invitations from the Lord with gracious promises to those who come, but note especially the final invitation of the Bible: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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The Prosperity Doctrine Debunked

Immortality Road

[Turn on to any of the televangelists, any time of day or night, and the vast majority will be preaching the prosperity doctrine. Simply put, it goes like this: Support them with your dollars, and God will bless you financially in return.]

As the Spirit of Truth shines more light into the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” it is easy to get sidetracked, wandering down side paths in His glorious garden of knowledge. And then there’s the constant Sirens’ song enticing the pilgrim to believe their false teachings about Christ. By wandering around, we can lose sight of the central purpose of God, which is a compass that leads us north to His throne. And that purpose is, of course, that God is using us to reproduce Himself in. He calls it “the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom. 8: 19). His purpose should be our meditation.

We…

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Nuggets – Christ and the Four Thieves

Christ and the Four Thieves
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

There were four thieves closely involved in the events surrounding the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. The first of these was one of His own disciples. “[Judas] was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein” (John 12:6). It was Judas, of course, who betrayed Christ, facilitating His arrest and conviction.

The second was not only a thief but also a revolutionary and a murderer. “Barabbas . . . who had committed murder in the insurrection . . . was a robber” (Mark 15:7; John 18:40). This convicted criminal, appointed to death, was released and Jesus condemned in his stead. Thus, Barabbas benefited temporarily from Christ, receiving an unexpected and undeserved liberty because Christ was willing to go to the cross.

“Then were there two thieves crucified with him” (Matthew 27:38). Their names are not given in the Bible, but their attitudes toward Christ, and therefore their ultimate destinies, were diametrically different. One of them berated Christ, saying, “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us” (Luke 23:39).

The fourth thief, on the other hand, believed Christ, and therefore heard His saving words: “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

All were thieves, deserving punishment. One was a betrayer, ending his life in suicide; one was a beneficiary, though only for a time; one was a berater, destined for hell; but one was a believer, receiving salvation and eternal life. Jesus, who received the penalty for thievery, can save even the thief, for He came “that they might have life, and . . . have it more abundantly.” HMM

From the Institute for Creation Research


 

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Maranatha – Summing up Submission

Summing up Submission
“Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

Although this book was written to Christians during a time of horrible persecution, much of it is concerned with submission. Believers are to submit to the government (2:13-17); slaves to their masters (2:18-20); wives to their husbands (3:1-6); husbands to their wives (3:7); and each one to the other, as in our text, in just the same way Christ submitted to God’s plan for His suffering and death (2:21-25).

A summary of this teaching is found in 1 Peter 3:8-12. “Be ye all of one mind” (v. 8), Peter tells us, and live in harmony. Paul taught, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). There are exceptions to the rule (e.g., the primary doctrines of Scripture), but the Christian normally should not be the one to break the peace. He should do everything short of compromise to live in harmony.

Continuing (see 1 Peter 3:8), we should have “compassion” for others (such as the rulers, employers, and spouses mentioned). We should “love as brethren” and choose to serve rather than be served. “Pitiful” is usually translated “tenderhearted,” and “courteous” implies “humble in spirit.”

We should return a blessing for a curse instead of replying in kind (1 Peter 3:9). We should choose our words, use our speech carefully (v. 10), and “eschew” (i.e., avoid) evil (v. 11), actively replacing evil behavior with good. Peace must be consciously pursued.

There is great reward in such a lifestyle and attitude. In doing so, we will “inherit a blessing” (v. 9) and “see good days” (v. 10). “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (v. 12). JDM

From the Institute for Creation Research

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25 Songs of Christmas #5 Feliz Navidad

Memories near and far, of long ago or just past, bring us to the realization Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever. Amen.

THE RIVER WALK

What were the Christmas family gatherings like when you were growing up? I can still remember mine as though it was only a few seasons back. I was one of a dozen or more kids running wild in the basement. The others were my cousins. We made up our own games, played hide-n-seek, and played pool. Sometimes we even bothered to use the sticks. We did our best to burn off the sugar we were putting into our system at a prodigious rate. It was the only chance we could since those cookies would be much more severely regulated the other eleven months of the year. Eventually, some of the older cousins and younger aunts and uncles would want to take over the pool table and we would all be kicked outside. There the mayhem would continue with snowball wars if there was snow, tree climbing if there wasn’t and the…

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Maranatha – The Weight of Waiting

The Weight of Waiting | Advent Series #1

How long, Lord God Almighty,
will your anger smolder
against the prayers of your people?
You have fed them with the bread of tears;
you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors,
and our enemies mock us.

Restore us, God Almighty;
make your face shine on us,
that we may be saved.

Psalm 80:4-7
‘How long, Lord?’ – I’m pretty sure we’ve all uttered those words. Whether semi-ironically whilst stuck in a traffic jam, or at the end of our tether in a seemingly never-ending crisis of faith.

This is the cry of Psalm 80, a community prayer which depicts extreme national distress. It even goes so far as to assert that God is the cause of this distress, as his anger ‘smolders against the prayers’ of his people. There is a continued cry for restoration throughout this psalm, and particularly in the repeated refrain of ‘Restore us, God Almighty’.

As the world around us gears up to celebrate Christmas, decking the halls with boughs of holly and proclaiming the alleluia chorus, it is easy to forget that Advent is traditionally a time of waiting. Throughout Christian history, it has been a time both to lament and to anticipate.

Advent is a chance to lament – as we see clearly in this passage. It is a lament of the Psalmist’s worldly situation – deep darkness with no apparent hope of a saviour. It is a chance to cry ‘how long, Lord?’ with one breath, and in the next to speak hope with anticipation: ‘restore us, God Almighty… that we may be saved.’

And so, Advent is also a chance to anticipate – to look back at the saviour given to the world in Jesus, and to anticipate the second coming of Christ, when all things will be made new.

Advent is, it seems, a time of tension. As the world lights up with Christmas joy, we as Christians must – for now at least – sit with the weight of waiting.

There is no shame in asking God ‘how long?’ Whether that’s the cry of loneliness, of unfulfilled dreams, of grief, or of despair – we need not be ashamed of crying out in the words of the Psalmist. But we must remember that lament and hope go together; they always have.

We cannot separate grief from hope, for without the one the other makes little sense. So as we launch into Advent this year, may we not only wait with joyful expectation, but learn to live with grief, secure in the knowledge that our cry of ‘how long, Lord?’ has already been answered – with the cry of the newborn baby in the manger.

Nell Goddard

LICC <mail@licc.org.uk>
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