Sunday, April 20, 2014

"For the one who has died has been acquitted from his sin." Romans 6:7

Jehovah's Witnesses teach that dying is a good thing. They base this on Romans 6:7 "For he who has died has been acquitted from his sin." and believe that if you die before Armageddon, you are resurrected into paradise... this is easier for you than remaining faithful during the "great tribulation". This verse is taken out of context. see verse 3:"Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?" 

"For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maundy Thursday with a former Jehovah's Witness

Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday and Thursday of Mysteries) is the Christian feast, or holy day, falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels. It is followed by Good Friday. -- Wikipedia


I have been attending a Confessional Lutheran Church for some time now, so I was familiar with most of the service. Confession (the congregation confessing together that we have sinned), Absolution (the pastor announcing forgiveness of sins), Confessing/reciting the Apostle's Creed, prayers for the congregation and praying the Lord's Prayer together, readings from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the gospels, the sermon, songs of praise, and even Holy Communion. 

But communion was different for me today. I was acutely aware that Jehovah's Witnesses held their "Memorial" on Tuesday, and that for 35 years I also mocked my Savior. For 35 years I refused the gift of His body and blood. But not this year. This year when the Lord's Supper was commemorated, I obeyed. I received Him.

Then after communion, the Lord's forgiveness still on my lips, tears still in my eyes... was the stripping of the altar. The candles were snuffed out. The wine was removed. No longer was the Bread of Life on the altar. And we read a Psalm together, as we usually do, but this time it was Psalm 22. The words of the Lord of Life as he died. The events of the night as he was crucified. For me. For you.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.  In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them.  They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.  But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people.  All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads:  "He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him."  Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast.  From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God.  Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.  Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.  Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me.  I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me.  My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.  Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.  I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.  They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.  But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me.  Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs.  Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.  I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.  You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!  For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.  From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows.  The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him-- may your hearts live forever!  All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him-- those who cannot keep themselves alive.  Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord.  They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn-- for he has done it.


for more information on Maundy Thursday see http://www.orlutheran.com/html/holyweek.html

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Update on me and church membership

I have joined a congregation. I am not there every Sunday but when I am we hold hands and pray the Lord's prayer together. We confess our sins as a group, all of us sinners and beggars coming to receive from the Lord. We confess our faith together and read the Psalms together. We pray together for the prayer requests of the congregation. We receive forgiveness. We partake of the Lord's Supper together. We are a family, and I love it.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

How good is good enough? Does God expect me to be perfect?

  • In Matthew 19 is Jesus teaching that no one is good but God. That no one follows every law. That someone will think that they do, but it isn't good enough. And once again, in verse 21, Jesus mentions the need to be perfect. Jesus is insisting that the only way into the Kingdom is perfection! We know that no one is perfect. (1 John 1:8-9; James 3:2) Yet here He is, the judge of the world, insisting on, demanding perfection! So how do we resolve this?(see also Matthew 5:17-20 and 48)

    Matthew 19: 16-25
    And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Then he said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 

    The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

    When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?”

    "You must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect" says Jesus at Matthew 5:48

     

    "But wait a minute", I think, "David sinned and got punished, but God thought he was perfect enough to be in his kingdom, having salvation, how can this be?"


    Let's see what David has to say about it: "Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered." Psalm 37:21 and Romans 4:7

    Romans 3 explains about David: "First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the whole revelation of God. 3True, some of them were unfaithful; but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful?"


    20 For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Mosesi and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.
    23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. 
    People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. 


    Now keep in mind our question, why is David promised God's Kingdom when we know he was not perfect? Read on in Romans 3:


    This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

    When Jesus' sacrfice is applied to us... we are perfect. Forever perfect, even as we are still being sanctified. "For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." Hebrews 10:14

    God declares sinners to be right in his sight, yes, perfect! When we believe in Jesus. Romans 3:26

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When Jehovah's Witnesses invite you to their Memorial

Say that you think that it is wonderful that they are inviting as many people as possible to partake of the flesh and blood of Christ, 

When they deny it, ask them why they are not imitating Jesus, who invited everyone to partake of His flesh... 

show them John 6:53-54

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." John 6:63

Galatians 3: O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”?

Christians today are bewitched by different words. Words that are not from God. They are told to find assurance of salvation (in other words put their faith in) their prosperity, their feelings, their obedience, their works, and/or their reasoning and knowledge. NO! We find our assurance and put our faith in GOD and His Words. His promises. In the cross. In Jesus.

John 3:14 "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life."

John 19:30 "It is finished."

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Evangelizing Jehovah's Witnesses part 2: The Good Person test

There is a popular evangelizing method that involves convicting a person of their sin by using the ten commandments. I thought I would share the thoughts I would have had as a Jehovah's Witness:

"Yeah I know the ten commandments, of course we should try to keep them."

"But everyone is imperfect and God understands this, besides, that's the old law under the Old Covenant, it isn't God's will for me today." 

"Yeah, I've lied, what's your point? I've repented from that. I don't do that anymore. Now I am focused on strengthening my faith and obedience so that I am ready to endure the end and obey God's direction to survive Armageddon."

"The Great Tribulation... that's what people need to know about.

I have to stay faithful through all of that or all of my work will be for nothing. I'll do anything as long as I get everlasting life in paradise at the end of it. What if I am not faithful enough? I have to make sure I obey the governing body now. I never know if one thing that they ask is the big test, my chance to get on the ark. I can't miss it. What if I miss it? I need to tell these people about Armageddon or they'll be destroyed and their blood will be on my hands."

"This Christian thinks I am so stupid that I don't know John 3:16? I know Jesus died to make up for Adam's sin. Without that I wouldn't have a chance at all. Now I need to prove to God that I am worthy to be in the New System. Then we will all be perfect. I definitely won't sin once I am perfect. Stupid Adam!"


"Yes, Jesus died for me when I was still a sinner. He did this as a gift. I have to show God that I am grateful and will work hard enough for Jesus' death not to be wasted on me."