Saturday, August 17, 2013

Soft Tissue Found in Dinosaur Bone? Uh-Oh!

If dinosaur remains were found which were obviously not millions of years old, what would that discovery do to Darwinian evolutionary theory and the incredibly long time span that evolutionists claim was necessary to their beliefs?
Most evolutionists claim that dinosaurs became extinct at least 65 million years ago, right? That proposition is often stated as fact in museums, zoos, textbooks, websites, and even movies (such as Jurassic Park, 1993, and its sequels). In most cases debate is not allowed. Those who question this unproven theory are sometimes regarded as religious quacks or extremists with their heads in the sand, oblivious to the “truth” of evolution evident all around them. The Genesis account of creation is dismissed as mythical and unbelievable.
Recent discoveries, however, have raised serious doubts about the entire evolutionary timetable. Would you believe that scientists have found apparently young biologic materials in dinosaur bones? It’s a fact. Archaeologists have uncovered soft tissue and blood vessels, that scientists had said previously could not be more than several thousand years old, inside dinosaur remains. That amazing find, which is beyond dispute, gravely threatens the “millions-of-years” scenario so widely accepted and so confidently proclaimed.
In 2005 a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton was discovered in a remote area in Montana. Because the thigh bone was too large to fit in a helicopter, it was cut in half at the site before being removed. Mary Schweitzer, Ph. D., a paleontologist with Montana State University, examined part of the bone under a microscope when she saw what evolutionists had previously considered impossible.
The dinosaur bone contained soft tissue, blood vessels, and possibly red blood cells.
Scientists agree, whatever their view of life’s origins or the age of the Earth, that these biologic elements were found inside that dinosaur bone. They agree further that these materials were original to that dinosaur, not from another source. They have also long known that such elements could not survive more than several thousand years.
No wonder Discover Magazine called it, “Schweitzer's Dangerous Discovery,” in the April, 2006, issue. Note the following excerpt in bold:
Two years ago, Schweitzer gazed through a microscope in her laboratory at North Carolina State University and saw lifelike tissue that had no business inhabiting a fossilized dinosaur skeleton: fibrous matrix, stretchy like a wet scab on human skin; what appeared to be supple bone cells, their three-dimensional shapes intact; and translucent blood vessels that looked as if they could have come straight from an ostrich at the zoo.
By all the rules of paleontology, such traces of life should have long since drained from the bones. It's a matter of faith among scientists that soft tissue can survive at most for a few tens of thousands of years, not the 65 million since T. rex walked what's now the Hell Creek Formation in Montana.
For additional material, check these sites:
Search online for “dinosaur soft tissue,” and you will find numerous resources.
Of course this poses a great dilemma for most evolutionists. They either have to accept the fact that the dinosaur bone is not millions of years old, or they have to declare that the soft tissue is millions of years old. Perhaps a third alternative would be to say, "Uh oh! We had not expected this! We'll do further study on this before we keep insisting that the millions-of-years claim is correct. After all, it is just a theory."
What about Dr. Schweitzer, the paleontologist who made the discovery? I contacted her by email to ask about her conclusions. She was most kind to respond quickly and to dialogue with me. However, she continued to insist that somehow the dinosaur bone and even the soft tissue must be 65-80 million years old. In other words, she rejected virtually universal previous scientific conclusions that such a life span for soft tissue was not possible. She did admit, however, that she and other paleontologists do not fully understand how fossilization has occurred. That was quite an admission. However, that is just about the only other answer that can be given. It sounds very weak, in contrast with the dogmatic assertions that many evolutionists have made.
I am not a scientist, and I respect those who are. I certainly do not have all the answers. However, I just do not see how the soft tissue in that bone can be millions of years old! This discovery, as well as numerous other matters of scientific fact, contradict and disprove the whole evolutionary system. They further confirm to me that what God has told us in Genesis 1-2 is true.

Cory Collins

Friday, August 16, 2013


… our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Outside were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more. (2 Cor 7:5-7)
Simple, sincere words like, “We’re glad you’re here!” can uplift and energize those who hear them.  When God’s people love others because they love Him, they rekindle our fire and desire to serve. We look forward to knowing them better, partly because of the good it does us. That is the way encouragement works. A sign at a local hospital reads, “Just say, ‘HEY!’ Remember to make eye contact. Smile and greet every person you meet.” That is a motto worth following.
Everyone needs to receive encouragement. Imagine receiving a phone call first thing tomorrow morning, just as your day begins. The caller says, “I just want to tell you how grateful I am for your friendship, your faith, and your service to Christ. You are a blessing in my life. Keep up the good work, and know that I am praying for you.” What difference would that make in your attitude, your activities, and your effectiveness? Paul needed Titus to visit him with good news; so do the people around us.
Everyone needs to give encouragement. Now imagine placing that call to someone else. You will inspire the same joy and confidence in others that you would gain if they contacted you. Pick several this week, from the prayer list, the sick list, or the visitor list. Surprise them with a “thinking of you” card, a visit, or a phone call. Instead of asking, “Why hasn’t anyone encouraged me?” try asking, “Whom can I encourage?” Let’s imitate a man named Joseph, whom the apostles called Barnabas (“Son of Encouragement;” see Acts 4:36; 11:22-24). We need to do it, to be more like Jesus.
Everyone who gives encouragement receives much more. You and I are the vessels through which God’s comfort and consolation will flow to others (2 Cor 1:3-11). God will uplift, love, and bless those around us by means of our words and actions. As a result you and I will become more gracious, godly, and caring people than ever before. There is no greater source of joy and fulfillment to be found anywhere. In the church, mutual encouragement is one purpose for our assembly (Heb 3:13; 10:25). It works in the other direction, too. When another person encourages you or me, we want to pass it on to the next person we see. We give and receive. We lift and are lifted. We love and are loved. And in all of it we see God at work.
To comment and/or to receive notices of future blog posts, please email
cory247 [AT symbol] gmx [dot com]. God bless.

Cory Collins

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Is It All a Myth?

For the mp3 audio recording of this lesson go to “Is It All a Myth?” 
For the complete PowerPoint outline, go to (Outline).  
2 Pet 3:3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.”
There are no greater questions than these three: “Does God exist?” “Is the Bible the true, inspired Word of God?” and, “Is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God?” One’s answers to these questions determine his or her answers to all other significant questions.
The Bible’s truth claims are found frequently in its pages. For example, Paul wrote in Gal 1:20, Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.” Over and over again the writers of Scripture insist that they are telling the truth, and they distinguish that truth from fables and tales.
What is a myth?
Greek μῦθος: a tale, story, legend, fable, myth, in contrast with true accounts.
English “myth,” from
1a.  a story about superhuman beings of an earlier age taken by preliterate society to be a true account, usually of how natural phenomena, social customs, etc., came into existence
2. a person or thing whose existence is fictional or unproven
What does the Bible say about myths?
The Bible not only talks about myths; the Bible distinguishes between myths and truth.
2 Pet 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Does the Bible predict those who would deny its truth?
2 Pet 3:1 This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, 3 knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. 4 They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, 6 and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
Could Christians be misled?
1 Ti 1:3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.
1 Ti 4:7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;
Tit 1:13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.
2 Ti 4:1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Why would people treat the Bible as myth?
Itching ears. 2 Tim 4:1-4
Desire for autonomy, to be God, not serve God. Gen 3
Dislike of the Bible’s teachings about sin, God’s wrath, hell, etc.
Desire to be free of moral restrictions.
Love of the world and pleasure. 1 Jn 2:15-17; 2 Tim 3:1ff
Desire to “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”
Trust in human wisdom, reason, and ability.
Confidence in science, medicine, technology, money.
Belief that science has disproven the Bible.
Sense of enlightenment: “We have arrived!”
Pre-disposition against the existence of God, the possibility of miracles, and the inspiration of Scripture.
Belief that man’s view of God has evolved and that man no longer needs God.
Belief that ancient people were gullible and naïve.
Constant bombardment by all kinds of media.
How does our culture attack the Bible as truth?
Depicting biblical faith as weak, useless, or outdated.
Painting Bible believers as “right-wing extremists.”
Rewriting our nation’s (and the world’s) history.
Promoting the evolutionary timetable as fact.
Indoctrinating the young – the very young.
Highlighting celebrities who live immoral lives.
Using museums, zoos, movies, books, documentaries.
Ignoring indisputable facts about origins.
Silencing Bible-believing scientists, historians, archaeologists, researchers, professors, politicians, etc.
What are the results?
There is no objective basis for defining morality.
The basis of law, morality, ethics, and values is removed.
There is no objective standard of right and wrong.
Anything goes in one’s private life. Between consenting adults any behavior is acceptable.
Self is God. Choice is God. Freedom is God. Sin is God.
Human life has no unique “image-of-God” value.
We have no verified information as to our origin.
Difference between killing a man and killing a squirrel.
Abortion, infanticide, euthanasia.
There is no purpose in life.
There is no basis for marriage or the family.
Marriage can be redefined or eliminated.
There is no basis for altruism (good for its own sake).
There is no limit to bio-medical research or techniques.
Cloning to provide spare parts.
Embryonic stem cell research.
There is no life after death, as the Bible describes it.
There is no ultimate justice beyond this life.
But of course, again, there is no actual good or evil.
People may do whatever they can get away with doing.
Laws must be multiplied to enforced external behavior. Guns, etc.
Large drug companies have paid off generic companies not to produce competing products at a lower price. Time for a new law!
The ultimate breakdown of the family, the school, the community, and the nation.
Our inner moral compass – the conscience – is useless.
What evidence shows that the Bible is not myth?
Undeniable historical realities:
There was a man named Jesus from Nazareth.
He died during the days of Pontius Pilate.
His body has never been found.
The church began early in the first century …
In the city where Jesus lived and died …
Within a very short period after those claimed events.
Baptism reenacted His death, burial, and resurrection.
Christianity spread throughout the first-century world.
Those who claimed to be witnesses were persecuted, tried, tortured, and put to death for their faith.
Elements once denied by unbelievers, but no longer!
Camels Gen 12:16
Hittites Ex 23:23
Solomon’s navy and cavalry 1 Kgs 9:26; 10:26
Sargon Isa 20:1
Belshazzar Dan 5:7
Iconium Acts 14:6
David’s existence and rule
The Tel-Dan Stele (monument)
“House of David”
Mid-9th-century BC
Found in Dan, 1993/94 (in the Golan Heights)
This inscribed basalt stone contains the oldest reference to King David outside of the Bible. Roughly a foot tall. Written in Aramaic. The text actually refers to the “house of David,” meaning his royal family. Now located in the Israel Museum.
King David’s palace found at Khirbet Qeiyafa 7/13
The project covered about 18 miles of excavation over a seven-year period.
The site is located about 20 miles southwest of Jerusalem, and it borders the Elah Valley. This valley is one of the major thoroughfares between the coastal plan, where the Philistines lived, and the hill-country, where the Israelites settled and had their capital city of Jerusalem. It was in the Elah Valley that David defeated the Philistine champion Goliath (1 Sam. 17).
Excavations at the site have uncovered a well-planned fortified city from the late 11th-/early 10th-century B.C. This is the period in which many historians place David’s rule over Israel. In the central area of the site, archaeologists unearthed remains of a 10,000-square-foot palatial structure. To the north of the palace, they found a pillared building that was perhaps used as an administrative store-room for the palace. The archaeologists argue that the city is the best example of a fortified town from the time of King David.
One of the buildings was identified as a palace, while the other is believed to be a very large royal storeroom.
The storeroom contains evidence that can help researchers date the site.
“This is the only site in which organic material was found — including olive seeds — that can be carbon-14 dated [to King David’s time],” Israel Antiquities Authority spokeswoman Yoli Schwartz told The Times of Israel.
From Time Magazine
The December 1974 issue of Time stated, “The Bible is often surprisingly accurate in historical particulars, more so than earlier generations of scholars ever suspected.”
It went on to say, “After more than two centuries of facing the heaviest scientific guns that could be brought to bear, the Bible has survived – and is perhaps the better for the siege.”
From U.S. News & World Report
“A wave of archaeological discoveries is altering old ideas about the roots of Christianity and Judaism – and affirming that the Bible is more historically accurate than many scholars thought.” U.S. News, “New Finds Cast Fresh Light on the Bible,” 8/24/81
From the Tennessean newspaper:
“[Recent] discoveries have provided the first hard evidence for a number of biblical figures and events, many of which had been widely dismissed as myths and moral tales.” The Tennessean, “Archaeologists’ finds fit Bible’s account of past,” 12/96. Such as:
· Site of ancient Shechem found, where Genesis 12:6-7 says Abraham built an altar to God. Archaeologists have confirmed an organized community there 4,000 years ago.
· Discoveries of fire-blackened stone in a trench on a hot, barren mountainside fit with the Bible’s claim that Joshua destroyed ancient Hazor with fire, as recorded in Joshua 11.
· Archaeologists in 1996 found a stone tablet with a Phoenician inscription bearing the name Ekron, an ancient Philistine city. See Josh 13:3.
· An ivory pomegranate, with words, “Holy to the priests, belonging to the temple of Yahweh [the LORD],” may be first relic ever recovered from Solomon’s temple, 950 BC.
· In 1996, in a 2,000-year-old garbage dump at Masada, wine jug found, inscribed with name of King Herod. First object ever found with his name. See Matt 2:1.
· The discovery of ancient Egyptian forts near the Mediterranean reveals why God sent the Israelites to Canaan by an indirect route. Ex 13:17-18
The Bible itself: unity.
It contains 66 books, written by about 40 people (farmers, fishermen, kings, shepherds), over a period of 1600 years, on 3 continents (Africa, Asia, Europe), in 3 languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek). Yet it is a single volume … the Bible (Greek for “book”).
Imagine 10 writers on any subject whose works form a unit (not just a collection).
Imagine three independent sculptors, each with a product, who come together to find that their pieces fit together perfectly and form one statue. What would you conclude?
· Unity of Theme · Unity of Structure · Unity of Focus
The Need of Redemption, Promise of Redemption, Prophecy of Redemption, Realization of Redemption, Publication of Redemption, Application of Redemption, and Fulfillment of Redemption
The Bible itself: accuracy.
Not only were the Bible’s anticipations of modern science unknown in ancient times; they flatly contradicted the “medical” writings of Egypt, where Moses was reared.
Do Not Eat Blood - Lev 17:12,14
Do Not Eat Pork, Scavengers - Lev 11
Diagnosing Leprosy - Lev 13
Burning Contaminated Clothes - Lev 13:52
Washing and Bathing - Lev 17:15
Disposing of Human Waste - Deut 23:13
Without such instruction, the Israelites would have perished in the wilderness.
The Bible itself: predictive prophecy.
· Early in time · Specific in scope · Unmistakable in fulfillment
Jesus’ identity: legend, liar, lunatic, or Lord?
Jesus’ resurrection: no other option.
Jesus’ teaching: proven by practice.
Jesus’ influence: attested by history.
In fact, isn’t evolution itself actually a myth?
According to the “scientific method,” if you cannot see it, taste it, smell it, or see it, then “it” is not confirmed truth!
“Matter is eternal.” “An accident caused a Big Bang.” “The Earth is 4.6 billion years old.” “Non-living material came to life on its own.” “One tiny, living cell ultimately produced all forms of life that exist today.” “There is no design(er).”
“DNA is the result of infinite millions of accidents.” “Human personality came from non-personal causes.”
Note the specific detail and authoritative tone with which the “evolutionary timetable” is presented. Then note the disclaimer: “Dates are approximate!”
Notes, outline, and audio from this presentation:
Click on “Evidences.” 
“Samson Strikes Again”
“Charles Darwin Attacked by Bombardier Beetle”
“Who Invited Job to Jurassic Park?”

Convicted, Brad Harrub, Ph.D., Focus Press, 2009.
Dinosaurs Unleashed, Kyle Butt and Eric Lyons, Apologetics Press, 2004
Why the Bible is Number 1, Kenny Barfield, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1997.

What If Jesus Had Never Been Born, D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1994
What If the Bible Had Never Been Written, D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998
Bible and Archaeology - Online Museum
Fifty items in approximate chronological order.

Friday, August 02, 2013

What About Tongues, Prophecy, and Miracles Today?

1 Cor 13:8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Many sincere, religious people today believe that they have experienced or witnessed tongues-speaking, prophecy, and healing miracles as they occurred in the New Testament era. These include Pentecostal groups, charismatic groups, Mormons, some Catholics, some Protestants, and various individuals in community churches. Some are so convinced of this subjectively that it is difficult for them to reconsider it in the light of Scripture. When asked for biblical support, these well-meaning people will turn to 1 Cor 13:8-13.
They read “the perfect” in verse 9 and understand it to refer to the final state of God’s people in heaven. Because we are not perfect, the church is not perfect, and the world is not perfect, they insist that the first-century gifts must exist now and continue until the Lord returns.
Let’s consider several lines of evidence that support the cessation of these special gifts. We are not limiting what the Lord can do, but rather considering what the Lord does or does not do.
The word “perfect”
The Greek term τέλειος (teleios) is an adjective meaning “having attained the end or purpose.” It refers to the finishing or completing of a process which has been begun. The purpose of the miraculous gifts would be accomplished, and then they would cease. That purpose was to confirm the identity of Jesus Christ and the truth of the apostolic gospel message (Heb 2:3b-4).
When Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, revealed knowledge and prophecy were still partial, given in bits and pieces (13:9). The biblical canon was still open, as the Spirit was leading Paul and others to proclaim God’s inspired Word. Once the New Testament was finished, and the canon was closed, God “perfected” or “brought to its end or purpose” the process which was still unfinished at the time of writing.
All or nothing
Read the list of special gifts listed in 1 Cor 12:28-30. Some (like healing) are specifically miracle gifts, bringing a dramatic, supernatural effect. Others (like prophecy) are revelation gifts, bringing content which could be considered inspired. Tongues-speaking was a combination of both. One could speak in a language he had never learned, and through that miracle new content would be revealed, which had not been known before.
If tongues-speaking were to continue today, the other gifts – all of them – would continue as well. There would be continuing inspired revelation. The canon would still be open. The Bible would remain unfinished. We would be lacking part of God’s revealed truth. And this incomplete state would continue until Christ returns.
One more thought. If all the gifts of 1 Cor 12:28-30 continue until the Second Coming of Christ, then we must have apostles as well. The Mormons are at least consistent in this, with twelve “apostles” leading their group. Virtually all other Bible believers recognize, based on Acts 1:21-22, that the role of apostles was limited to the first century.
If our charismatic friends can explain why there are no longer apostles in the church today, and why the Bible is complete, we can use that same reasoning to discuss tongues and miraculous healings.
In Acts 2 the apostles preached the gospel in other dialects or languages, as the Spirit enabled them. If one could do that today, he would be able to preach the gospel in foreign lands, in the tongue of the audience, without having studied the language. This simply does not happen today. Before Pentecostal missionaries go into a new country, they must first study that other country’s language.
Read Acts 9:36-43, which records the raising of Tabitha or Dorcas from the dead. It became known throughout Joppa, where she lived. If this happened today, it would again become known throughout our city. It would be evident. However, it has not happened.
So-called faith healers insist that the problem is a lack of faith. Is there no one, anywhere, who has sufficient faith today? What about the mustard-seed faith that Jesus described in Luke 17:6? Also, some may suggest that Tabitha was raised as a result of the faith of others, her friends who summoned Peter. Would it not seem reasonable that faith healers could do the same today? If the faith healer believes, and some in the crowd believe, shouldn’t someone somewhere be raised from the dead?
The man Jesus healed in John 5 expressed no faith before the miracle occurred. In fact, he did not even know who Jesus was until later. See John 5:12-13.
The crippled beggar healed in Acts 3 did not express faith; he was hoping to receive money. His healing confirmed the gospel message about Christ’s resurrection and ascension. It did not reflect the beggar’s level of faith, nor was it hindered by his lack of faith.
The Pentecostal movement began in 1906 in Los Angeles, CA. Until that time, it was accepted by virtually every Bible student, and every religious group, that tongues and apostolic miracles had ceased. This conviction was also held by the early, post-apostolic church.
Early church leaders constantly referred to Scripture as the only divinely inspired revelation. Origen (AD 185-254). From the quotations and materials in his writings, you could virtually reconstruct the New Testament. He and others understood that the canon was closed, that divine revelation had ceased, and that the Holy Spirit was no longer inspiring Scripture.
The Didache is an early-second-century document which described worship, outlined a pattern for life, and warned against false prophets who would come. There is no mention of tongues-speaking or miraculous healings, which would have confirmed the message of true prophets.
In the latter part of the second century, a man named Montanus arose. He was a convert to Christianity in the province of Phrygia. He was convinced that he himself was inspired by the Holy Spirit and appointed to bring the church back to the exercise of miraculous gifts. He converted two women, who put themselves forward as prophetesses. In Asia Minor his efforts moved forward with a great deal of force. The church historian Eusebius mentions him.
Between AD 157 and 173, churches took action against Montanus and his followers. If this had been a common thing, if Montanus had been right, and if people had actually been exercising these gifts, the churches would have taken no such action.
Chrysostom (AD 300’s) spoke based on 1 Cor 12. He said, “This whole passage is very obscure, but the obscurity is produced by our ignorance of the facts referred to and by their cessation, being such as then used to occur, but now no longer take place.”
Augustine (contemporary of Chrysostom, who died sometime later), in homilies on 1 John, said: “In the earliest times the Holy Ghost fell upon them that believed, and they spake with tongues which they had not learned, as the Spirit gave them utterance. These are signs adapted to the time. But there behooved to be that betokening of the Holy Spirit in all tongues to show that the gospel of God was to run through all tongues over the whole earth. That thing was done for a betokening, and it passed away.”
Our God is an awesome God! There is no limit to what He can do. Nothing is impossible with Him. The Scriptures indicate that He chose to enable tongues-speaking and indisputable miracles in the first century, for the purpose of confirming the identity of Christ and the truth of the gospel. The Scriptures also indicate, as history and experience confirm, that God has completed that process and fulfilled that purpose. To God be the glory.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

The Many Facets of God’s Amazing Grace

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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Eph 2:8-10
What a gracious God we serve! Like a perfectly-cut diamond, the grace of God has many angles, sides, or facets. The colors of his mercy, power, and love shine clearly and brightly, as through a prism. In fact 1 Pet 4:10 speaks of God’s varied, manifold, or multifaceted grace. We must not focus only on one element of grace, to the exclusion of others. Let’s write a sentence sermon that connects these aspects as we find them in Scripture.
Grace is …
… God’s free gift …
Rom 5:15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Grace cannot be earned, achieved, or repaid. It consists of the forgiveness of our sins, a right relationship with God, and eternal life in Christ. Because He paid for it, we do not.
… which is available to all …
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people …
2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Grace is not limited to the few whom God preselected before the world began. God loves the whole world and wants no one to perish.
… which was purchased by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ …
Rom 5:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 Cor 1:29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
2 Cor 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The cost of grace was the blood of Christ.
… which can be resisted …
Luke 7:29 When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John, 30 but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.
Matt 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!
Acts 7:51 You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.
2 Cor 6:1 And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain—
The common conception of “sovereign, irresistible grace” is not found in Scripture. Rather, grace is offered to all. One may resist that grace and continue to be lost.
… which must be received through faith …
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ro 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
Heb 4:2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.
God does not force faith on anyone; we have a choice we must make. We are responsible for putting our faith in Christ and for putting that faith into action.
… when one repents and is baptized …
Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 22:16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’
1 Pet 3:21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
One repents and is baptized in order to claim the free gift of God’s grace. It’s like endorsing a gift check and depositing it. That check is still a free gift from a generous donor.
Nowhere in Scripture is the so-called “sinner’s prayer” to be found. Instead, lost people who believed the gospel repented of sin and were baptized – to be saved.
… which results in and empowers a radically different life …
1 Cor 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Grace does not make one complacent or idle. Grace does not cause one to say, “Now I can relax!” Instead it compels and energizes its recipient to lead a Christ-centered, Christ-honoring life, which includes active service in the Lord’s church.
… instructing us to turn from sin …
Tit 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age …
God’s grace is a teacher, directing us to reject sin wholeheartedly and be godly and holy. One who is not learning from God’s grace is not filled with that grace.
… leaving us with no license or excuse to sin …
Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Jud 1:4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
One saved by grace is free from sin, not free to sin. Grace is not a permit, allowing continual sin without consequences. When one receives God’s grace in baptism, one dies to sin and must refuse to go back to it.
… insisting that we continue in this grace …
Acts 13:43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.
Col 1:21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard …
 Heb 3:14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
1 Pet 5:12 … I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it!
Since we receive the grace of God by faith, we continue in His grace by faith. The implication is that, if we abandon the faith and return to sin, we no longer continue in that grace.
… because it can be forfeited by unbelief and disobedience.
Heb 3:12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.
Heb 6:4 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, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
Heb 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
Gal 5:4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.
Heb 10:29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?
Christians – once saved by grace – can yet develop an evil, unbelieving heart. As a result we fall away from the living God. It is God’s grace that saves, but it is we who continue in that grace through faith.
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Cory Collins