Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem’

MondayThroughout this week I’ll provide the rough harmony/chronology of the words and actions of Jesus in the final week of his pre-resurrection life. There wont be any commentary, just a simple journey as given by the Bible. Take some time to read it and see how it applies to your life.

On Monday morning Jesus and the Twelve leave Bethany to return to Jerusalem, and along the way Jesus curses the fig tree

Matthew 21:18-19

In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it,

“May no fruit ever come from you again!”

And the fig tree withered at once.

Mark 11:12-14

On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it,

“May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”

And his disciples heard it.


Jesus enters Jerusalem and clears the temple

Matthew 21:12-13

And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them,

“It is written,

‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’

but you make it a den of robbers.”

Mark 11:15-17

And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them,

“Is it not written,

‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?

But you have made it a den of robbers.”

Luke 19:45-46

And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them,

“It is written,

‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’

but you have made it a den of robbers.”

In the evening Jesus and the Twelve leave Jerusalem (returning to Bethany)

Mark 11:19

And when evening came they went out of the city.


Israeli high court(Israel)—Messianic Jews have won another battle for recognition in Israel. This time Israel’s Supreme Court has determined that a Messianic congregation in Jerusalem should receive the same full tax exemption as a synagogue. (Photo via Israel Today)

The battle began back in 2010, when ultra-Orthodox Members of Knesset Moshe Gafni of United Torah Judaism and Nisim Zeev of the Shas party passed a law providing Jewish synagogues relief from all municipal taxes. Lawyers from the Jerusalem Institute of Justice (JIJ) then petitioned the court to also provide a Messianic fellowship in the capital with the same status. And they won.

The ruling is significant in that it allows for full tax relief for all space used by the Messianic congregation, including the meeting hall, a drug rehabilitation center, children and youth activity rooms, pastors’ offices, and space for secondhand clothing distribution.

According to JIJ, since the case began in 2010, congregations applying now for the discount will be paid back retroactively for all municipal taxes incurred over the last three years. The Jerusalem Institute for Justice is encouraging all Messianic Congregations paying municipal taxes on their facilities to apply for the tax break. The new ruling promises a major windfall of tens of thousands of shekels each year now available for Messianic congregations in Israel.

As with any new law its implementation needs to be worked out on the ground, and already there is opposition.

Secular Israelis fed up with corruption and scandals involving rabbis and religious organizations over the past years are not happy that synagogues don’t need to pay their share of municipal taxes. Many feel that religious Jews are already an unnecessary burden on Israel’s struggling welfare system.

The popular new secular government party, There is a Future, led by Finance Minister and former television personality Yair Lapid, has put a proposal on the floor of the Knesset to cancel the tax break for synagogues.

Lapid had garnered support from many Messianics in Israel’s last election, particularly amongst the younger Israeli Believers who were attracted to his fresh ideas on economic equality.

Now the Messianics find themselves, perhaps for the first time in their short and turbulent history, partnered together with the Orthodox Jewish parties enjoying the new tax break. As one of the lawyers from JIJ said, “Finally, the Messianics have a common interest with the Orthodox political parties.”

According to the JIJ lawyer, it is very unlikely that anti-Missionary groups will try to overrule the new law in order to prevent court recognition of Messianic congregations, as they themselves enjoy the same tax benefits.

When authorities visited the Messianic congregation in question, they took notice of “drums and a sound system in the hall.” Did such equipment belong in a non-profit religious organization?

In his testimony before the court, the spiritual leader of the congregation was able to explain: “The gatherings in our meeting hall are for the purpose of prayer and Torah study. We use musical instruments and a sound system for praise. We believe that according to the Book of Psalms we are to worship God with all kinds of musical instruments, including drums and cymbals.”

In its decision to grant the Messianics full tax relief retroactively for the past three years, the Supreme Court’s Appeals Committee referred to the congregation specifically as “non-profit Messianic Jewish organization that provides a sanctuary for prayer for all of her members.”

The Messianic congregation was clearly not considered a church by the court, nor, for that matter, would they call it a synagogue.

It may be difficult to believe, but rather than drawing us closer to God, sometimes Christmas actually draws us away!

For many, this Christmas season will be filled with rushing, hurrying, and milling around department stores, feet aching, head throbbing, nerves frazzled. No wonder the little girl who was praying “forgive us our trespasses” got confused and said, “forgive us our Christmases.” Sometimes we need to be forgiven for our Christmases. We simply leave no room for Jesus.

That First Christmas
There was no room for Him in the inn that first Christmas. In fact, the only place Jerusalem had for Him was a cross. Even in His death there was no room for Him, for He was buried in a borrowed tomb.

One reason there was no room for the Lord Jesus was ignorance. The innkeeper didn’t know the baby about to be born was the Son of God. Mary and Joseph certainly knew. The shepherds, the wise men, Anna and Simeon in the temple, and Elizabeth knew; but the innkeeper did not.

Another reason there was no room for Jesus was indifference. Can you imagine the innkeeper as he shuttles a young woman about to give birth off into a cow stall? He simply had no concern.

Or perhaps the innkeeper was too involved. He was so busy, he just didn’t have time. His rooms were filling with guests and his purse was filling with gold. Like many of us, he was too busy with others things. He had no room for the Lord Jesus.

But it was no accident that all of this happened. It was prophesied in the Bible: “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” (Isaiah 53:3)


What About This Christmas?
Today there is still little room for the Lord Jesus Christ. Some insist that the days surrounding the Lord’s birthday not be called “Christmas Holidays,” but “Winter Break.” Irreverent and irrelevant Christmas cards fly off the shelves. The heroes of Christmas are Tiny Tim, Rudolph, Frosty, and Santa. Could it be that we too are ignorant, indifferent, or overly involved?

Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but for you, it may be the saddest. Perhaps Christmas is not all you feel it ought to be. Somehow you’re trying to be happy and find satisfaction in gifts and parties. Maybe you’re lonely this Christmas — everyone else is going to parties, but you’re not invited. Everyone seems to have a house full of loved ones, but you’re alone.

I have a word for you: Jesus is here, and His name is “Emmanuel” — God with us. God loves you. He knows all about you, and He still loves you. He understands you. He knows your every weakness. He wants to have a relationship with you so much that He suffered, bled, and died for you. The deepest need of your life is met in the One we call Jesus.

If you want to find Jesus Christ today, you’ll never find Him as an “insider.” You’ll always find Jesus on the outside. Don’t go to the inn; go to the stable. Don’t go inside the city; go outside the city where they crucified Him. You won’t find Him in bars, parties, or ball games. That’s not what Christmas is all about. It’s not important that you’re surrounded with friends, family, fun and food. Rather, it’s important that you’re with Jesus.

 One Day, There Will Be…
While the world has no room for Jesus now, it won’t always be that way. When He was here the first time, He stood before Pilate. When He comes again, Pilate will stand before Him. When He came the first time, He came as a baby. When He comes again, He will come as King. When He came the first time, He was rejected; but our Lord says, “As I live saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11) There’s no room for Him now, but one of these days, they’ll say, “Make room for the King!”

If I had a thousand lives, I’d give every one to God. Will you give Him your life today? “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13).

Is there room for the Lord Jesus in your heart this Christmas?

Ressentir is an old French word, literally meaning “intense feeling.” In English, it is resent, and it refers to feeling pain and indignation due to injustice or insult. People may feel resentful when they are cheated on, stolen from, or lied to. Resentment is often a reaction to being insulted or having one’s errors or weaknesses exposed. Resentment can be directed at an action, a statement, or a person—often, an authority figure, such as a parent, a teacher, or God. Resentment is the cheapest and least legitimate form of anger. It is all emotion and no strength.

Resentment can be sparked by perceived unfair treatment by another person. It could be an injustice, like not getting a deserved promotion, or it could be an insult. Either way, resentment stems from a love of the things of the world and a lack of faith in God and His plan. It is legitimate to recognize unfair treatment, and even to do something about it. But it is not helpful to wallow in feelings of self-righteous anger. The Bible is not concerned with the honor of human pride. An intense emotional response to an otherwise harmless insult may show a lack of spiritual maturity and a love of self (Matthew 5:38-39). As David fled Jerusalem, he faced the curses and insults of Shimei (2 Samuel 16:5-8). Rather than respond with resentment towards Shimei—and instead of killing him, as was the king’s right (verse 9)—David chose the path of humility. His words are amazing: “If he is cursing because the LORD said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’” (verse 10). David avoided feelings of resentment by viewing the situation as from the Lord.

Other times, people feel resentment when God allows or orchestrates an injustice in the course of ministry. If we’re serving God, we should be treated fairly—or so the logic goes. But then we have the example of Elijah, who faced many hardships although he was a faithful servant of the Lord (1 Kings 19:10). Not to mention Job. Jesus warned us of injustice in this fallen world: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you” (John 15:18). Knowing injustice is a fact of life should circumvent resentment in our hearts, as should keeping our eyes on the goal. Being treated unfairly is painful, but our heavenly rewards will more than compensate (Matthew 5:11-12; 6:19-21).

Another situation that can foster resentment is when we are dishonored because of personal sin. Being accused of a failing we’re innocent of is injustice. Being accused of sin we are guilty of can bring overwhelming shame and a goodly amount of denial. Sometimes the only way God can draw our attention to our sin is to expose our faults in public. As the saying goes, “He loves us too much to leave us where we are.” We may dislike what God is speaking into our lives, but resentment isn’t going to help. Instead, when our sins have found us out (Numbers 32:23), it’s vital to admit we’re wrong. Human pride is nothing compared to the true honor we receive when He sanctifies us (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

Resentment is a passive, weak emotion that has no place in the Christian life. If there is injustice, we should deal with it through prayer and godly action. If there is insult, we should concentrate on who we are in Christ and not place too much value on the cruel words of others. If we face injustice in the course of our work for God, we should accept it as to be expected. And if God allows us to be dishonored for the sake of sanctification, the best, least painful response is to repent and allow Him to work in us.

Nothing can choke the heart and soul out of walking with God like legalism. Rigidity is the most certain sign that grace and love have spoiled. The disciplined person is the person who can live appropriately in life.

Consider the story of Hans the tailor. Because of his reputation, an influential entrepreneur visiting the city ordered a tailor-made suit. But when he came to pick up his suit, the customer found that one sleeve twisted that way and the other this way; one shoulder bulged out and the caved in. He pulled and managed to make his body fit. As he returned home on the bus, another passenger noticed his odd appearance and asked if Hans the tailor had the suit. Receiving an affirmative reply, the man remarked, “Amazing! I knew that Hans was a good tailor, but I had no idea he could make a suit fit so perfectly someone as deformed as you.”

Often that is just what we do in the church. We get some idea of what the Christian faith should look like: then we push and shove people in to the most grotesque configurations until they fit wonderfully! That is death. It is a wooden legalism which destroys the soul.

Here are some verses that remind us that grace will always supersede lawfulness.

2 Corinthians 3:6 Who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Matthew 12:9-14 He went on from there and entered their synagogue. And a man was there with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. …

Matthew 15:1-39 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,”

Matthew 21:23-32 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus answered them, “I also will ask you one question, and if you tell me the answer, then I also will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man?” And they discussed it among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things. …

In a letter to his friends, hymn writer Wendell P. Loveless related this story: One evening a speaker who was visiting the United States wanted to make a telephone call. He entered a phone booth, but found it to be different from those in his own country. It was beginning to get dark, so he had difficulty finding the number in the directory. He noticed that there was a light in the ceiling, but he didn’t know how to turn it on. As he tried again to find the number in the fading twilight, a passerby noted his plight and said, “Sir, if you want to turn the light on, you have to shut the door.” To the visitor’s amazement and satisfaction, when he closed the door, the booth was filled with light. He soon located the number and completed the call.

In a similar way, when we draw aside in a quiet place to pray, we must block out our busy world and open our hearts to the Father. Our darkened world of disappointments and trials will then be lit up. We will enter into communion with God, we will sense His presence, and we will be assured of His provision for us. Our Lord often went to be alone with the Heavenly Father. Sometimes it was after a busy day of preaching and healing, as in today’s Scripture reading. At other times, it was before making a major decision (Luke 6:12).

God speaks to us through His written word, the Bible. Christians speak to God through prayer.  Prayer is an important part of the Christian’s life; we pray in words and sometimes we pray in song.  Here are twenty important scripture quotes about prayer.

How Often Should We Pray

1 Corinthians 1:4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,

Ephesians 6:18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

Philippians 1:3-4 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,

Colossians 1:3 (KJV) We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing

How Should We Pray

Psalm 66:17 I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue.

Psalm 95:2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!

Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV) After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

1 Corinthians 14:15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

What Should We Pray For

Psalm 50:14-15 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

Psalm 118:25 Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success!

Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you!

Romans 10:1 Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.

Romans 10:13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Who Should We Pray For

Romans 15:30 I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf,

2 Corinthians 1:11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

James 5:13-14 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Christian Quotes About Prayer

“Those persons who know the deep peace of God, the unfathomable peace that passeth all understanding, are always men and women of much prayer.”R. A. Torrey

“Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” ~ Corrie ten Boom

“You may as soon find a living man that does not breath, as a living Christian that does not pray.”  ~ Matthew Henry

“Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer.”  ~ John Bunyan

“We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.” ~ Oswald Chambers 

We often hear the term “denominationalism” in reference to various religions of our world today. In every city you will see differing churches with differing names. Some denominational churches wear the name, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Pentecostal, etc. Some worthy questions to consider are: is God the author of denominationalism? Is God the founder of any of these religions? Is He the founder of them all or did He build only His church? In this article, we will discuss the concept of denominationalism, then look at some distinguishing characteristics of the Lord’s Church.

The Concept

The concept of denominationalism can be represented by a one dollar bill and the different coins that are fractions or a denomination of a dollar–a penny, nickel, dime, quarter, and half-dollar. In the right combination, these coins can make a complete dollar, which is the total or whole. Many in the denominational world represent the differing “faiths” as fractions of the whole, with the whole being what is often called the “Christian religion,” or “Christendom.”

The Lord’s Church

The Lord’s church is very different when compared to any denominational church. As each denominational church is distinct, so is the Lord’s church. Hence, if any denominational church is different in founder and name, beginning time and place, doctrine and practice, and organizational structure than the Lord’s church, then it follows that that church is NOT the Lord’s church as described in the New Testament. Please consider the following:

The Lord’s church has the right builder and head and wears His name! The Lord’s church was built by Christ and NOT man! In Matthew 16:18 Jesus said, “…upon this rock (that rock being Christ the son of God and not Peter) I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Notice that Christ did not promise to build His CHURCHES or DENOMINATIONS. The Lord’s church (in the universal sense) was purchased with the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25) hence the church belongs to the Lord and HE does the adding to it (Acts 2:47). In Romans 16:16, Paul referred to congregations of the Lord’s church (NOT denominations) when he use the term “churches of Christ.” Here he is denoting a plurality of local congregations of believers who belong to the Lord. Christ is the head of the church which is his body (Eph. 1:22, 23; Col. 1:18). Therefore, to be of the Lord’s church or body, we must submit to the authority of Christ and wear the name of Christ (see Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16; 2 Tim. 2:19) for Christ has been given “…all power (“authority”– ASV) …in heaven and in earth…” (Matt. 28:18). That leaves none for any man!

The Lord’s Church has the right beginning time and place! The promise was made that the Kingdom would come “with power” during the lifetime of the apostles (Mk. 9:1) and that “repentance and remission of sins” would begin to be preached at Jerusalem (Lk. 24:47). In Acts 2 we find that the Apostles, being filled with the Holy Ghost (the promised power), preached “repentance and remission of sins” to the Jews assembled in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost after the resurrection and accession of Christ. In Acts 2:41 we read: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day were added unto them about three thousand souls.” But, to what were they added? Verse 47 tells us that the saved (or the believers who were baptized, cf. vs 38) were added to the church by the Lord. There is no record of anyone being added to the Lord’s church prior to this day, the FIRST Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ. Therefore, we can know that the Lord’s church had its beginning on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ at Jerusalem!

The Lord’s church has the right doctrine and practice! The church in the first century was instructed to abide in the doctrine revealed by the apostles. John, in 1 John 1 spoke of the things they (the apostles) declared. In order for one to have fellowship with the apostles, the Father and His son Jesus Christ, one must obey and abide in the revealed (declared) will of God. When one does this, he is “walking in the light” (1 Jn. 1:7). John speaks of the importance of abiding (staying in) the “doctrine of Christ” (2 Jn. 9-11). Contrary to the belief of many in the religious world, to abide in his doctrine means to live according to his commandments (1 Jn. 2:3), and not limited to only accept the fact that Jesus came in the flesh! Walking in the light necessitates believing the facts that are divinely revealed and recorded and obeying the commands of God. Therefore the Lord’s church teaches and abides in the divine facts and commands, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…” (Matt. 28:20):

First, the Lord’s church of the first century engaged in evangelism; sounding out the word by sending and supporting preachers who preached the gospel to the lost. The proper terms of admission were proclaimed and practiced resulting in believers being added to His church. When a careful study is made of the cases of conversions in Acts, it is evident that during the first century the gospel had to be preached so sinners could be brought to Godly sorrow (Acts 2:1-37; Rom. 10:17); penitent sinners in the first century heard and gladly received or believed the gospel message and placed their faith in Christ (Acts 2:47; Rom. 10:17); sinners in the first century were commanded to repent of their sins (Acts 2:38; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Col. 3:1-7); sinners of the first century were commanded to confess their faith in Christ before men (Acts 8:37; Rom.10:10); and sinners in the first century where commanded to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ (by his authority – Matt. 28:19; Mk. 16:16) “for (in order to obtain) the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38; 22:16, see also Acts 8:26-39; 10:48; 16:14, 15; 16:30-33; 19:1-5).

Second, the Lord’s church in the first century engaged in worship to God that was “in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24). They “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). Briefly, this involved commemorating the Lord’s death on the first day of the (every) week (Acts 2:24; 20:7); singing praises to God (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16); giving of ones means or laying by in store on the first day of the (every) week according to individual prosperity (1 Cor. 16:1; 2 Cor. 8:6, 7); praying (Acts 2:42); preaching, teaching and abiding in the doctrine of Christ and his apostles (Act 2:42; 20:7; 2 Jn. 9-11).

Third, the church of the first century was involved in edification–building up the knowledge level of the members of the Lord’s body in “the faith which was once delivered” (Jude 3) and warning the saints to “abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul” (Eph. 4:11-13; Acts 20:32; 1 Cor. 6-10; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Pet. 2:11).

Fourth, the Lord’s church of the first century did the work of benevolence–helping needy saints and only need saints (Acts 2:44, 45; 6:1-6; 11:27-30; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2; 1 Tim. 5:16).

Fifth, the Lord’s church of the first century was commanded to discipline members who walked disorderly. In Paul’s letter to the saints of Thessalonica he wrote, “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us” (2 Thess. 6, 7 & 11). Further, Paul commanded the Corinthian brethren “in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” to “put away” the brother involved in an incestuous relationship (1 Cor. 5). Paul illustrated using the concept of “leaven” that to ignore sinful conduct of this type the result would be the pollution of other member and the local church as a whole. Hence, for a congregation claiming to be the Lord’s church to avoid having their candlestick removed (Rev. 2:5), then, discipline of wayward members is expected by the Lord.

The Lord’s church has the right organizational structure! The Lord’s church in the universal sense is not organized. The universal church is the body of all the saved or “called out” and was built, loved, purchased and sanctified by Christ. The universal church is the body we are baptized into (1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27). Local churches or congregations were composed of brethren or saints (believers). The local church at Philippi was scripturally organized and was composed of bishops (a plurality of elders meeting the divine qualifications – 1 Tim. 3:1-7), deacons (servants – meeting the divine qualifications of 1 Tim. 3:7-13), and saints (Phil. 1:1). Each local congregation was autonomous (self governing in congregational affairs, but governed by the Lord in doctrine and practice) and overseen by the elders that were among them (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:1-4). Congregations in the first century did not report to, nor were they governed by, any one man or governing board of men. They were overseen by their own elders.

Denominational churches have the wrong builder and they wear the wrong name! The denominations we have already mentioned – Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Pentecostal, and many others that could be mentioned where founded by a man and wear a name that is NOT a Bible name. Christ said in Matthew 16:18: “I will build my church.” Christ did not build churches with differing names, heads, origins, doctrines and creeds. He built His church! The result of man’s tampering with Gods plan is the confusion created by denominationalism. The apostle Paul said: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” (1 Cor. 14:33).

Denominational churches have the wrong beginning time and place! For example, the Roman Catholic religion was founded in 606 by Boniface III in Rome; the Lutheran religion was founded in 1520 by Martin Luther in Germany; the Episcopalian religion was founded in 1534 by Henry VIII in England; the Baptist religion was founded in 1607 by John Symthe in Holland; the Mormon religion begin in 1830 by Joseph Smith in America; the Jehovah’s Witnesses religion begin in 1872 by Charles T. Russell in America. These and all other man-made religions have the wrong NAME, the wrong BEGINNING TIME AND PLACE, the wrong BUILDER and therefore are NOT the Lord’s church, contrary to their claims. Denominations (false religions of man) will be rooted up and cast away by the Lord in the last Great Day (Matt. 15:13; 7:21-23).

Denominational churches have the wrong doctrine and practice! To mention a few, some denominations practice sprinkling or pouring for baptism and some even “baptize” infants. The Bible teaches that sinners are to be “buried in baptism” (Rom. 6). Some use mechanical instruments of music in the worship, when the New Testament authorizes only singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Some commemorate the Lord’s death quarterly, or semi-annually or only on the traditional “Easter Sunday,” even though the Bible teaches that the saints in the first century commemorated the Lord’s death on the first day of the week, each and every week (Acts 20:7). Some denominations have women “preachers” and in their “clergies” even though Paul taught that the woman is are to keep silence in the church and not to usurp authority over the man (1 Cor. 14:34). Some have “ordained” homosexual “pastors” in their “clergies,” even though the clergy system is man-made and the inspired apostle Paul condemned moral impurity, which includes homosexuality (Rom. 1:21-32; Gal 5:19-21). Many teach the false doctrine of the one thousand year reign of Christ on the earth, better known as the doctrine of Premillennialism, which pivots on perversions of Revelation 20. Many denominational clergy members have their distinctive clerical dress such as the Roman collar, even though Christ condemned this practice when he denounced the dress of the scribes and Pharisees in Matt. 23. Denominations have their entertainment including plays, food feeds, recreational gymnasiums, fellowship halls and all manner of schemes used to satisfy the lusts of human desire. Did Christ die for His church or an entertainment hall and recreational program? Paul opposed such activity in the Corinthian church and pronounced a divine apostolic condemnation when he wrote: “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not” (1 Cor. 11:22).

Denominations have their man-made creeds and manuals! The Baptists have their Standard Baptist Manual, the Presbyterians have their Book of Order and Book of Confessions, the Pentecostals have their manual stating their “Articles of Faith, Constitution, Judicial Procedure, and Position Papers,” the Methodists have their Discipline; the Mormons have their Articles of Faith and Book of Mormon. It is not difficult to see that denominationalism places the doctrines and commandments of men ABOVE the authority of Christ and the Bible. This practice was condemned by Christ during his personal ministry and His apostles during the first century and renders denominationalism and its worship vain (Matt. 15:9; 1 Cor. 4:6).

Denominational churches have unscriptural organizational structure! In denominationalism you will find governing boards, district councils, ruling bishops over a diocese, the pope, cardinals, synods, and universal ruling bodies of men who rule and reign over a plurality of churches. No such organizational structure is found in the New Testament! The head of the Lord’s church is Christ (Eph. 1:22, 23; 4:12; 5:23) who is now reigning and will continue to reign until all enemies are under his feet, the last enemy being death (1 Cor. 15:25, 26).


With this short comparison of the Lord’s church and denominationalism, it is evident to any honest person that denominationalism originated from man, and NOT from God! The Hebrew writer sums up well the truth that we must live by concerning true religion when he wrote in Hebrews 8:1, 2: “Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.” Are you a member of the church built by the Lord, or are you a member of a denomination built by a man? Which?

The above article was submitted by Glendol McClure, and I thought it was awesome. 

hellOne of the saddest things we can do today is not talk about Hell. In the 60’s and 70’s, there was an evagelistic effort called “turn or burn.” In other words, we needed to turn from our sins, or burn in Hell. It doesn’t get more blunt than that. But somewhere along the line, we softened our approach to evangelism and turned away from the subject of our consequences of sin, and redirected them to the love of God.

Now I love to talk about the love of God, but we also need to tell more people that our sins WILL seperate us from that love, and it’s a choice we make. Along with that choice comes consequences, and that consequence is called Hell. If we choose to rebel against the laws of the Lord, then we choose an eternal damnation. Once again, blunt, but true.If more people knew this, and understood it completely, then there would be a lot less sinning and a lot more winning. If you doubt this, think about the difference in society between the 60’s, and now. Back then Hell was preached on, and although people still rebelled, the world was a lot more God-Focused than it is now that we teach only love with no consequences.

I once came acreoss an outline on the subject of Hell that I would like to share with you below. Please repost this, and share it with as many people as you can. We need to address the topic of Hell more often, and the post below explains how to get in and out of it. It’s a subject that we need to share more often so Satan’s Hotel will not be so busy.

Key Facts About Eternity

(1) Everyone will exist eternally either in heaven or hell (Daniel 12:2,3; Matthew 25:46; John 5:28; Revelation 20:14,15).

(2) Everyone has only one life in which to determine their destiny (Hebrews 9:27).

(3) Heaven or hell is determined by whether a person believes (puts their trust) in Christ alone to save them (John 3:16, 36, etc.).

Key Passages About Hell

(1) Hell was designed originally for Satan and his demons (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).

(2) Hell will also punish the sin of those who reject Christ (Matthew 13:41,50; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8).

(3) Hell is conscious torment.

  • Matthew 13:50 “furnace of fire…weeping and gnashing of teeth”
  • Mark 9:48 “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched”
  • Revelation 14:10 “he will be tormented with fire and brimstone”

(4) Hell is eternal and irreversible.

  • Revelation 14:11 “the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever and they have no rest day and night”
  • Revelation 20:14 “This is the second death, the lake of fire”
  • Revelation 20:15 “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire”

Erroneous Views of Hell

(1) The second chance view – After death there is still a way to escape hell.

Answer: “It is appointed unto men once to die and after that the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

(2) Universalism – All are eternally saved.

Answer: It denies the truth of salvation through Christ which means that a person decides to either trust in Christ or else he/she rejects Christ and goes to hell (John 3:16;3:36).

(3) Annihilationism – Hell means a person dies like an animal – ceases to exist.

Answer: It denies the resurrection of the unsaved (John 5:28, etc. – see above). It denies conscious torment (see above).

Objections to the Biblical View of Hell

(1) A loving God would not send people to a horrible hell.

Response: God is just (Romans 2:11).

(2) Hell is too severe a punishment for man’s sin.

Response: God is holy-perfect (1 Peter 1:14,15).

  • Sin is willful opposition to God our creator (Romans 1:18-32).
  • Our sin does merit hell (Romans 1:32; 2:2,5,6).
  • What is unfair and amazing is that Christ died for our sin and freely offers salvation to all (Romans 2:4; 3:22-24; 4:7,8; 5:8,9).

Biblical Terms Describing Where the Dead Are

  • Sheol – a Hebrew term simply describing “the grave” or “death” – Does not refer to “hell” specifically
  • Hades – A Greek term that usually refers to hell – a place of torment (Luke 10:15; 16:23, etc.)
  • Gehenna – A Greek term (borrowed from a literal burning dump near Jerusalem) that always refers to hell – a place of torment (Matthew 5:30; 23:33)
  • “Lake of fire”- the final abode of unbelievers after they are resurrected (Revelation 20:14,15)
  • “Abraham’s bosom” – (Luke 16:22) a place of eternal comfort
  • “Paradise” – (Luke 23:43) a place of eternal comfort
  • “With the Lord” – a key phrase describes where church age believers are after death (Philippians 1:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 2 Corinthians 5:8)
  • “New heavens and earth” – where believers will be after they are resurrected (Revelation 20:4-6; 21:1-4)


Our curiosity about the abode of the dead is not completely satisfied by biblical terms or verses. What we do know is that either eternal torment in hell or eternal joy in heaven awaits all people after death, based on whether they trust in Christ’s payment for sin or reject Christ.

theologyAs many Christian leaders throw around the term Theology, it occurs to me that many people don’t even know what it means. So having said that, before I tackle the subject, here is the Wikipedia definition…Theology (from Greek Θεός meaning “God” and λόγος, -logy, meaning “study of”) is the systematic and rational study of concepts of God and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.[1]. So now, on to how I feel about Theology.

There are to many Pastors and lay Theologians out there trying to make the Study of God something they see and how they feel instead of taking their emotions out of it and just taking tha Bible at face value. We all tend to do this, but when we do, we try to put God in our box, like the picture in today’s post. I will be the first to admit that there are things about the Bible that I wish would be more like I want. A lot of people will even ask why God would put rules and regulations on us that go against our desires of the heart. The answer is simple, we are sinful, and He is not. If we dwere allowed to do what we wanted, it would be like letting your kids go out and play in a busy street because they wanted to. We wouldn’t allow it because we know that such an action would edanger their lives.  God knows that without rules, we would endanger our own eternal lives.

So what does all of this have to do with Theology? It’s simple! While I was in Seminary, one of the ways we were taught to exeget (Break down) the Word of God was to look t it as black and white, and to keep our feelings out of it. The reason is that if we begin to questions the Word, then it becomes Meology over Theology. If you want to study the Bible and become a Theologian, make sure that you obey what the Word says and to not twist it into your own feelings and thoughts. Realize that you need to take the Bible for exactly what it says, and not allow anyone else to change the wording into what they think is right. Obey Gods law to the letter, but if you fail, remember that Jesus died on the cross for our shortcomings, and we ar forgiven when we confess. It’s that simple.

As I write this, I wonder if the words are going to help anyone. The Lord has really laid this on my heart, and it will be interesting to see how it’s received. Please feel free to let me know your thoughts. In the mean time Here’s some scripture dealing with theology…

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,

Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Hebrews 6:1-20 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, …

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-18 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises. …

John 20:19-23 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

gooThere’s a Church accross the street from us that has one of the most unique neon signs in Las Vegas (And there’s a lot of them here) always flashing some new catchy phrase or message. That sounds pretty cool, right? Well, while I don’t really oppose it, I do wish they would change the message and mindset.

On this sign, they are always running a brightly colored slogan about what the Church has to offer and inviting them to come in. The problem is that they expect people to take the first step and go to the Church, when if you look at the Biblical concept of God‘s House, it should be going to the world.

It’s easy to stay behind the security and safety of walls, but if we really want to make a difference and become a Church like Jesus and the early Apostles showed us, we would be going out on the streets to where the people are. It’s very rare that someone will look at a sign and just pop into a house of worship, they need to be invited. They need to know that there are people who care about them, and most of the time that’s not going to happen with an invitation, but it will happen if someone from the Church takes a step outside and SHOWS them they care.

Now I’m not bashing this Church at all, I’m sure it does a lot of great things, but here’s what concerns me about this congregation. This Church is right in the middle of the foreclosure capital of the nation, and they are constantly building onto the grounds while people are losing their homes a block away. I would love to see them coming out from behind the fortress that they are building, and going out among the people that live nearby and seeing how, or if, they could help. Imagine what kind of a ministry that would be. I can just picture the scenerio…someone is losing their home and don’t know where to turn. Suddenly they get a knock at the door. It’s someone from the Church accross the street. The heart-broken person breaks down crying while telling their visitor from the House of God how they feel like they are losing everything and are scared. The person from the Church offers to help them with groceries and starts to pray with them. They may still  feel scared, tbut now there’s renewed hope. They see that the words of Jesus are more than just words, they are demonstrated though His followers. They have a new found sense of hope, it’s called Jesus. Now that’s evangelism.

I know a lot of Churches would love to do more outreach, but in most cases the interest from the congregation isn’t there. Having said that, ask yourslef this morning if you’re active enough in the Church to where they can come out from behind their walls. If the volunteers are there, and your Church still isn’t doing outreach, pray on it and see where the Lord leads you. Maybe simply ask someone how you can help to reach more people for Jesus. Often times encouraging your Pastor through the gift of volunteering will inspire Him.

Please read the scripture below that backs up what I’m talking about this morning, and please help someone outside of the walls today… 🙂


Mark 16:15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.


Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”


The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’[a]; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”