By Chris Harrison
The biggest reason that Alabama doesn’t have a lottery is because of certain churches and denominations as well as politicians who say that it’s morally wrong. If you want to use other reasons, such as “does the money go to education as its really supposed to” and other questions such as that to oppose a lottery I think it’s perfectly ok to ask those questions but do not use morality as your reason. It might came back to bite you.
By Chris Harrison
There is a lot of emphasis given on what we must do to please a holy God. Some groups will say that we are forgiven when we repent, are baptized, confess our sins and call upon Jesus. Other groups add more requirements and still other groups have less requirements. But at what point exactly are our sins forgiven? Is it the moment we believe? Is it the moment we turn from sin? Is it when we become sorry for our sin? Is it the very second we come out of the water? When are we cleansed of our sin? The following verse could be helpful
“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.”
Hebrews 1:3 NLT
According to this passage, Jesus cleansed our sin without our help 2,000 years ago at the cross and then sat down and will not do anything else about our sins. He doesn’t sit around forgiving sins all day long as long confessionals come into Him. No! It was a one time deal. This idea is repeated through the book of Hebrews.
So why confess our sins at all? Why repent? Why be baptized? Why believe in Christ at all? It’s very simple. These things do not aide in our forgiveness at all. These things are a response to the cleansing that Jesus did at the cross. When I know that Jesus forgave me, I will repent. When I know that Jesus cleansed all my sin, my response is to believe and to follow in baptism.
Jesus did all the cleansing he will ever do at the cross. Everything I do is a response to what He already did. Why is that so important? It takes the self effort and labor out of it. If you feel that your actions will bring His cleansing then you will live a defeated life of condemnation. When you see the work is all of God and that He doesn’t need your help, you can rest!
By Chris Harrison
The Bible translators decided to put the New Testament at the Birth of Christ. I can understand why Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are in the New Testament. After all the Jewish Scripture was very old and dealt with the one who was coming but not the one who had come. However, the word testament simply means covenant. This can confuse people who think that Jesus’ words were all New Testament words or new covenant words. There are different theories about the words of Christ. One theory is that Jesus is neither New or Old Testament. Since He is the word Himself, whatever He says is right and true. Of course, Jesus’ words are right and true but we have to deal with the purpose of His words and the context. There is no such thing as an inter-testament period. It’s either under the old covenant or its under the new.
By Chris Harrison
“Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.”
Jeremiah 33:3 NLT
This is one of the most definite verses in the Bible on prayer. This verse is clear cut and very black and white. This verse tells us that God simply wants us to call to Him in order for Him to reveal things to us. He is ready and available to save, heal and protect. He stands ready to answer us when we pray but he ask one thing, will we do it?
James says, “we have not because we ask not.” Can you imaging if all that heaven had to offer was literally at your fingertips? Everything you needed for your current job. Everything you needed to parent. Everything you needed for your marriage. It is all there for the taking but God just wants you to ask him. How about when we don’t receive what we are asking for? Does this mean that God said no? Of course not! The Bible says that “all His promises are yes and amen!” If God said it, He will do it! We have to stay in faith and continue to thank God for the answer. Resistance will come at times but we must stand our ground.
By Chris Harrison
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.””
John 14:21 TLV
This verse has been terribly misread for so long. It seems to be saying that the proof that you love God is that you will know and keep His commadments. However, the focus of this verse is not the commandments but rather our love for God and His love for us. We are told that we will have and keep His commandments if we love Him. Or you could say that the way to possess God’s way of doing things and to obey His way of doing things is to focus on loving God. He tells us that if a person loves God, they will be in possession of Gods commands and they will automatically be obeying them. If you focus is on commandments, you will never learn to love God. If your focus is on loving God, you will never cease keeping His commandments. Where is your focus today? Is it obeying or loving God? If it’s obedience, you will miss God completely but if your focus is adoration and love of God, obedience will follow and it will come without effort. Anything else is filthy rags.
“So anyone who speaks in tongues should pray also for the ability to interpret what has been said. For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying. Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand. I will sing in the spirit, and I will also sing in words I understand.”
1 Corinthians 14:13-15 NLT
The Bible teaches here that when we speak in tongues, we don’t understand what we are saying. But it calls it praying with the spirit or praying in the spirit. When we pray in the spirit, our spirit prays. Every man is a spirit, soul and body. The real part of us is our spirit. It is perfect and in union with God at all times.
By Chris Harrison
I want to be clear that I am not against Calvinist or many of the things that Calvinist teach and believe. I appreciate the great reformers of John Calvin and Martin Luther. They have paved the way to a deep understanding of the gospel message. However, there is some great error in the modern teaching of reformed doctrine. One of my hero’s in the faith was named Johnathan Edwards. He was a reformed preacher who brought the great awakening to America but if you listened to him preach, you would not really know he was a Calvinist. He did not put an emphasis on the five points of Calvinism or predestination. He talked about election and predestination because the Bible talks about it. However, He was not dogmatic about the subject. His focus was on Jesus Christ and his work at Calvary to save everyone who believes. I have heard other preachers and teachers such as David Platt who are very similar in the way they bring the message of the gospel. If you listened to Matt Chandler or David Platt, you may not come away knowing they are reformed. You would assume that they are evangelical preachers who preached the simple message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified and encouraged people to believe on Christ to be saved. To me this is the way to do it. Rather than focusing on election or predestination when preaching to the lost, we should always preach a message that puts the focus on what Jesus did.
In John 20, Jesus met up with His disciples following His resurrection. He breathed on them and told them to receive the Holy Spirit. Oddly enough, He told them to “wait in Jerusalem until they are clothed with power from on high.” In Acts 1, He tells the same people to “wait for the promise of the Spirit” and He told them this would give them “power to be a witness.” So He had already given them the Holy Spirit when they believed in His resurrection yet He told them not to do ministry until they had received the Holy Spirit. This seems like a contradiction.
6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
A New Covenant
7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds[b] I will remember no more.”[c]
13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
There is coming a time because of this New Covenant where every person will know the Lord. In the meantime, the Bible says that we have a new covenant that is established upon better promises. I had a friend that told me the other day, “there is no such thing as the Old Testament. God hasn’t changed. The same God who made the laws in the Old Testament hasn’t changed his mind and is still holding us accountable to that law.” Others have said, “we don’t have to obey the ceremonial or sacrificial laws but we must still adhere to the moral laws.” With so much confusion among Christians, it’s a wonder that anyone can figure out the truth. The problem is that we don’t understand the New Covenant. The Bible teaches in the above verse that the first covenant was not faultless. God found fault with the first covenant. He goes on to describe the first covenant as on that required obedience.
How Reliable is the New Testament?
There are three tests, which every historical document must pass, in order to be considered reliable and accepted as an authentic original work. The bibliographical test, the internal evidence test and the external evidence test. (Sanders, IRE, 143 FF.)
The Bibliographical test for the reliability of the New Testament.