Proclaiming a Message of Good News and Hope to our generation!

Month: July 2015

Why Suicide Bombing?

It has always been difficult for me to understand the impulse to end one’s life. Today, we hear a lot about how religious beliefs can lead a person to suicide. We are told that those who kill innocent people in the name of their religion are promised a place in the afterlife of eternal bliss if their own life is also sacrificed.

There must be more to it than that. For one thing, no one can prove this promise to be true and certainly fulfilled. Given the natural instinct for survival, I believe there must be multiple factors involved.

One of the most pessimistic books ever to be written is the biblical Ecclesiastes. In it, the man who calls himself the Preacher declares that all things under the sun are vain and meaningless. The reason he could say this confidently is that he claims to have tried it all. While most people spend their lives in pursuit of pleasure, material wealth, fame, etc., he had it all from the beginning.

In the end, he learned that real meaning can only be found in a relationship with God Who created us all, and that all human activities can be satisfying as we find wholeness, completeness in Him.

Where are you in this journey? Are you still believing that if you get this particular job, find this perfect mate, fulfill this special dream some day that you will finally be satisfied and content? Thankfully, many of us have the opportunity to better our situation, and that is a good thing. But according to the Preacher, all will be disappointed if and when they reach their chosen destination apart from God.

People who delight in killing themselves and others as terrorists often are those who have already discovered the vanity of their existence. Not having the opportunities of a free society, they not only develop a hatred for the wealthy and free, but also a longing to escape their own misery.

Only the affluent cultures can continue longer in the illusion that there is happiness to be found, for like the carrot before the horse, it yet dangles before them. We in the West in our smug superiority do not really know how we would respond to the dark reality that people around the world experience every day.

Those who in despair turn to Christ and His mercy can endure the vanity and seeming hopelessness of the world around them. Their desire is not to destroy life but to share it with others. Their hope is not in this life alone, but this life most certainly has meaning, comfort, love, joy, peace and purpose because of Him.

Let us pray that Christ will be seen and received by potential terrorists in oppressed societies, as well as by the street gangs, the drug lords, the corporate pirates, the educated and elite, the working class, and the homeless in our communities. In Him we can find the true nobility of humanity, that was created by God to reflect His very beauty, glory, wisdom, grace and love!

Is the Bible the Word of God?

These days I have been hearing that the Bible is not the Word of God, because Jesus is the Word of God. The statement that Jesus is the Word of God made flesh is actually found in the Bible. But did Jesus Himself believe that the Bible is not the Word of God? When being tempted of the devil for 40 days, Matthew and Luke record for us how Jesus resisted temptation.

Satan challenged Jesus’s sonship to God by telling Him He could satisfy His hunger by changing stones into bread. Jesus answered by quoting scripture:

“It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD’.”
Matthew 4:4 NASU

To what was Jesus referring? Was He saying that He would satisfy His hunger by eating Himself, since He was the Word? Or is He saying that everything that God has and is communicating to us is our spiritual bread?

Consider Hebrews 1:1-3:

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.”
NASU

God spoke through His prophets, as recorded in the Hebrew Bible, which to Christians is the Old Testament. At the very least, the writer claims that the Bible is the record of what God spoke through the prophets. But both the Hebrews and the Early Church believed that even the record of His statements were breathed by God the Holy Spirit as they were recorded.

God communicates both through the spoken word and through His actions. Psalms 33:6: “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” The very act of creation communicates to us the nature of God. (Romans 1:20). Certainly God is not limited to communicating to us in writing alone, but writing is to be included and is to our benefit. (2 Timothy 3:16, Romans 15:4).

In this example from Matthew 4, Jesus used the scripture as a weapon against temptation, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 4:12).

Yes, Jesus is the Word of God, eternally. It was He who created all things, saying “let there be light.” (John 1:3, Colossians 1:16). So why do we find it difficult to see that Jesus, the Word of God spoke through Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, David, and others when the Spirit of Christ was in them? (1 Peter 1:10-11). Just get out your concordance and see how many times you can find the phrase, “the word of the Lord came to Samuel, Jeremiah, Amos etc.” every time God had something to say to His people.

That is why Jesus Himself called the scripture, the Word of God. (Mark 7:13)

In Acts, Luke calls the Gospel the Word of God:

Acts 6:7: “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly;”

See also 8:14, 11:1, 12:24, 13:5,7,44,46, 17:13, 18:11, 19:20.

So was Jesus increasing and growing? Or was the message He told the apostles to preach spreading?

To recap, both the things God has said, and His gracious and mighty acts as recording in the Bible, communicate God’s Word to us. Jesus is the Word of God in eternity, and also as revealed in a human being who lived 2,000 years ago, the full and complete revelation of the person and nature of Almighty God. (1 Timothy 3:16)

In these modern times, fewer people believe as they did a generation ago, that this collection of 66 books we have today are the authentic message from God which testifies of who Jesus is. Could it be because they are uncomfortable with the truth it contains concerning our situation, and our need to totally depend upon Someone greater than us?

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