google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2017 November

Archive for November 2017

Exploring Islam 08

00:0000:00

ExploringIslam_logo.jpg

Exploring Islam

The Islamic nature of Sin

What is sin?

There is similarity between Islam and Christianity in the definition of sin; in Islam it is in not fully practising sharia Law or believing in Allah and his prophets; for the Christian it is thinking or acting in contrary to God’s wishes. (For more about the Christian doctrine of sin, click here to see other resources on this site.)

However, this is where the two religions part company. Within Islam every person is naturally sinless when they are born, they only become sinful when their first sinful act is committed. People are capable of following all the necessary laws and being sin free on their own, all that they require is the proper instruction and a healthy fear of the afterlife in hell to motivate them.

Despite this, even Muhammad is said in the Qur’an to have sinned (Qur’an 48:2). People are forgetful and can fall prey to the temptations which Satan can cunningly whisper to them. This is in contrast to the Christian who believes that we are all born into sin before we have thought or done anything. This is the concept of ‘original sin’ found in Psalm 51:5 and means that every person is in needing of saving.

Different levels of sin

Within Islam there are different levels of sin derived mainly from the Hadith and are too complicated for us to go into here. The main point of the categories is to identify those actions which the Muslim can receive forgiveness for by doing repentance.

But in contrast there are a very small number which are not forgivable most notably that called shirk. Committing shirk is when a Muslim changes a religion to become a Christian, and thereby in Islamic understanding believes in more than one God as seen in the Trinity.

Although there are Qur’anic verses which suggest Allah would entertain forgiveness if they rescinded and returned to Islam, there are equally others which suggest it is only a one way road to condemnation. The concept of shirk is a major barrier in any Muslim’s mind in even entertaining conversation about other religions, let alone really committing to change. When a true conversion does happen it is common even in western countries not to go public for fear of reprisals.

Sin’s influence upon Allah and God

A final aspect of sin to mention is the effect it has upon Allah and God. In Islam Allah’s transcendence and unknowability is so complete that he is subsequently not impacted at all by humanity’s sinful acts. He is a god who has desires for humanity to live in an appropriate way, but there is no personal relationship or want for fellowship. Allah is most holy, that is pure and just and set apart. His will is his own unaffected by anyone or anything.

This is in great contrast to the Christian God whose nature is equally holy and transcendent, but He has an innate desire to individually meet and express his love for his creation. However, this is hampered by the presence of sin which would, unlike with Allah, be in conflict with God’s pure holiness. Therefore, for a Christian forgiveness is required to forge the loving relationship with God, whilst for the Muslim it is to avoid going to hell.

Right Mouse click to save this as an audio mp3 file

 

This now is available to buy as a book on Amazon :

UK/Europe - £5 - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Exploring-Islam-exploring-diversity-Christian/dp/1507774567/

USA - $7 - http://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Islam-exploring-diversity-Christian/dp/1507774567/

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gifAdd to Google Reader or Homepage
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

Jehovah Witnesses 03

00:0000:00

wa01.jpg

3 - Organization and God’s Word

 

 

 

At the end of our last study we looked at their own assessment of what a Godly organisation should be like in character and were they true in saying they adhere closely to God's Word. I couldn't agree more that they should but do they in fact keep strictly to God's Word? This we shall look at more closely in a moment but first

Here is an outline of how they operate as an organisation:

They stress:
(a) Door to door visitation They say that they are the only organisation going from house to house. This is not true as many churches do a great deal of outreach and meet people where they are. We recognise them at our front door as they give themselves away by their dress and manner.
Never do they start with the line "we are Jehovah Witnesses."
Why do they go from house to house? To present the good news of the gospel? Wow!! if it were true. Or is it out of fear of displeasing their organisation if they fail to do so?

What Good News do they bring to the householder? Its all about their own organisation and offering a Book study group to join. Note a book study not a Bible study. Again we do not see them going directly to the Bible and certainly not the NIV or New King James Versions not even the King James Authorised Version but their very own version which they have manufactured HAVING REMOVED OR ADDED TO PARTS OF THE BIBLE THEY ARE IN DISAGREEMENT WITH.

They say categorically "No one is allowed to criticise the hierarchy of the movement. " I quote " We should meekly go along with the Lord's theocratic organisation"(The Watchtower November 15th 1981 page 80.)..."What is your attitude towards directives from the faithful and discreet slave? Loyalty should move you to be ready to obey." (Watchtower Dec. 1st 1981)

One ex Jehovah Witness referring to her previous experience in the movement said...."I hated every minute, every hour of being a witness. But I thought it was the only way to survive Armageddon and live on Paradise earth. Many times over the years I would have left if someone had only presented the gospel to me." I have heard a good number of similar testimonies from those who feared the movement which had such a strong hold over them. This tight reign prevents them leaving the organisation especially if their close friends are going to ostracise them which the organisation insist they do..

(b) What kind of meetings do they hold each week? Usually it amounts to five meetings per week. Four of them require audience participation. Included also is a study of their weekly journal 'The Watchtower' by means of questions and answers. Prior to the study a public talk is given from its outline. On another evening the ministry school trains every Jehovah Witness how to present their beliefs and overcome objections. Witnesses are expected to prove their faithfulness by attending all the meetings. Each witness must spend a minimum of ten hours per month in door to door visitation. Others known as auxiliary and special pioneers spend many more hours knocking on doors.

Last year I attended by invitation their annual communion service. Yes only once a year. We were told the elements were only to be taken by those who were 'born again' Who are the born again in their eyes? Did the speaker point us to Nicodemus in John 3:3; no way, not a mention of it! .Instead we were pointed to a couple of references in the book of Revelation including one in chapter 14.

Here there is reference to great multitudes of people worshipping and praising God in Heaven. Included in that number, ( for it goes on to stress there are so many people there they cannot be numbered from all nations on the earth) is the number 144000. We were told by the presiding elder that the 144000 were the particular born again Jehovah Witnesses who were pure, undefiled, ransomed, redeemed and follow the Lamb closely.

So there were two classes we were told. One to inherit paradise and all other Jehovah Witnesses would have the lesser blessing in eternity of spending it on the renewed earth. So only Jehovah Witnesses who considered themselves in the 144000 group would be allowed to participate and take the bread and wine that night. I had been invited by an Witness elder who was sitting next to me . As the dry crackers and wine were being passed from hand to hand I quickly asked the elder whether I was expected to eat it straight away or wait till all were served. He replied "no its only for the "Born Again" I replied quickly as the elements drew closer to where we were sitting "But I am born again"

As it happened I never got much of a chance to take either as they were passed swiftly along and it appeared that no one was participating! Afterwards I asked my friend "Did he know of any "born again Jehovah Witnesses" in the congregation (there were 200 people there) He said "no not personally but I think there are one or two living in the county." I think the Holy Spirit was grieved that night at a meeting which should have been filled with the knowledge of Jesus Christ and His redeeming work on Calvary and his words to his disciples "take eat, do this in remembrance of Me"

However, He was virtually cut out of the meeting which he brought into being. I was told it was left to the individual to take but with such a warning, who would? To be born again was for the elite Jehovah Witness. My Bible tells me it is for sinners, repentant sinners who trust only in Jesus righteousness and His shed blood to redeem an deliver us from our sins. And through that sacrifice we can be cleansed from all sin and be welcomed into heaven (all of us who repent and believe)1 Corinthians 11:23-26: Romans 3:23; 5:1-3: and verses 8ff

When I began this third study I referred to the Jehovah Witness principles which they said they said they adhered to. One was "We recognise Jesus' vital role in Jehovah's purpose." I am certain they do not. Jesus Christ is central in the Christian faith and in my next study we shall focus on what place Jehovah Witnesses teaching does give to Jesus Christ and contrast it with what the Bible clearly teaches and I can assure you there is a vast difference and one that greatly affects the true way to God through The Lord Jesus Christ, We shall see Who He truly is and what He did achieve at Calvary for all who will believe on Him.

Right mouse click here to download as a MP3 file

You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gifAdd to Google Reader or Homepage
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

POD - Psalm 8

00:0000:00

podintro.jpg

Psalm 8

 

For the director of music. According to gittith.[b] A psalm of David.

1 Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
2 Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
4 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
5 You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honour.

6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
7 all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
8 the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

 

Click or Tap here to listen to or save this as an audio mp3 file

~

You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gifAdd to Google Reader or Homepage
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

00:0000:00

think_spot.jpg

Think Spot - 27 November 2017

 

Here we are Monday again. Are you pleased? Are you ready for a new day at the office, or at college or in the factory or at a desk? You are a Christian right? So what are you thinking as you resume where you left off last week?

Did you pray before you left home? Great for that's the best way to start off. You spent a little time with the Lord in His Word and have sought his leading through the day. That is also commendable. Have you sought protection from the Lord also? Have you realised there is someone who is anxious that you don't triumph in Christ today. That of course is satan. He is someone who wants to safeguard his territory and his prisoners – those who are already under his control.

So look at this day as an exciting day with all kinds of great prospects. If you are walking and talking with God you couldn't be in better company or stronger. He will be your shield and refuge a very present help in time of trouble. He is at your right hand and will be in control as you yield yourself confidently to His direction through the day. Ok a lot of routine stuff but do it as well as you can and cheerfully. But you don't know my boss?

No but God does and he has you there in that place for a reason never doubt. You may not see anything terrific happen today no miracles but you are a light shining for Jesus and will make an impact upon someones day today as you come into contact just your presence in the same room. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify God in Heaven.

Trust in the Lord and be not afraid. Watch your behaviour and enjoy God's presence with you. You are in the centre of his will and its going to be a great Monday. Our confidence is in the Lord.

Psalm 23 reads “He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake” Believe and act upon those words spoken by David and at the end of day you may well be able to also say with him “My cup runs over”

 

Click or Tap here to listen to or save this as an audio mp3 file

~

You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gifAdd to Google Reader or Homepage
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

00:0000:00

ETB_logo.jpg

Exploring The Bible

41. Old Testament

Ezekiel - 590-573BC

 

G'day and welcome to our series, "Exploring the Bible" This is also the title of our latest book available on Amazon by clicking here or visiting PulpTheology.com

Key Verses:

  • Ezekiel 36:24–26
  • Ezekiel 36:33-35


Ezekiel preached to the people of Judah in exile in Babylon. Ezekiel uses prophecy, parables, signs and symbols to show God’s message to His exiled people.

He prophesies that God will reassemble them and make them live again, which amounts to a prophecy of resurrection. The judgement of the days in which they live will lead to a future glory, when Israel will know that God is God.

Click or Tap here to listen to or save this as an audio mp3 file

~

You can now purchase our Partakers books! Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gifAdd to Google Reader or Homepage
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »

00:0000:00
JohnsGems-Revelation.jpg

Gems in the book of Revelation

Part 123 - Revelation 1:5

Who Jesus was and is

Unlike the other writers of New Testament epistles John does not have to direct the bulk of his writing to the problems in a church - with the exceptions of the seven letters to individual churches in his chapters 2 and 3. So he concentrates on Jesus tackling many things the other writers do not.

Here he is interested in describing the Messiah with 3 strong and powerful descriptive phrases: faithful witness, first born from the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth. Thus we have a great gem cut with 3 faces.

He is the faithful witness. ‘Witness’ translates a Greek word from which we get the English word ‘martyr’. The only other person who died for his faith named in this book is Antipas (2:13) and he also is called a ‘faithful witness’. He is uniquely identified with Jesus, having given the ultimate witness to the most important event of all that Jesus did here on earth.

What an accolade! There is nowhere in scripture the faintest suggestion that we should seek martyrdom. Yet if it becomes a strong possibility or a certainty for us we are not to do anything other than to welcome it. That is a tough statement to make. Our attitude towards it will depend very much on where we live and the implications of the culture and society we are in. some of us, living in a safe and secure environment, will never really have come to terms with the possibility - and why should we? Others, living in an unsafe environment will have been forced to confront the possibility and probably be shocked that there are those of us who never have! We can only live where we live and it is not sensible to try and do otherwise than face to problems of our place. If we are safe as can be, let us rejoice. If we live in a very unsafe part of the world and are unable to get out or have deliberately decided that we should not do so because of the work we are able to do for the kingdom and its Lord then let us live on, trusting in him, whatever the future may hold for us.

The second title John gives to Jesus is ‘firstborn from the dead’. This is a statement of both time precedence and status seniority. Isaac bought the birthright from his elder brother Esau and then tricked him out of their father’s blessing. Thus he secured a larger share of the estate when Isaac, their father, died. We do not know quite how it worked in those very early days. It was formalized later so that the senior son took a double share of the estate on the death of the father (Deuteronomy 21:15-17). Jesus has the time precedence. The Jews thought, on the basis of Ezekiel 37:11-14 and Daniel 12:1-2 that all the Lord’s people would eventually be resurrected. What they did not expect was that one person would be resurrected ahead of everyone else, thus demonstrating that it would happen when the end of the age came.

Jesus was the first born from the dead. We shall eventually be resurrected as he was at some unknown date in the future. WOW! The third title John gives to Jesus is ‘ruler of the kings of the earth’ which clearly means he will one day rule all this earth of ours and all who live on it. This is very much in line with the things that the other New Testament writers say. For instance Paul says, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11).

John has taken the idea from Psalm 89:27 “I will appoint him to be my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth.” Such things seem to be strange things to say when only a tiny minority of the current kings, emperors and presidents of the nations of the earth would allow Jesus any place in their decisions. But this is no surprise. Ethan the Ezrahite, who wrote the psalm, complains that not all is going well for the king of David’s line that he is prophesying about. He says “You have exalted the right hand of his foes; you have made all his enemies rejoice. Indeed, you have turned back the edge of his sword and have not supported him in battle. You have put an end to his splendour and cast his throne to the ground. You have cut short the days of his youth; you have covered him with a mantle of shame. How long, LORD? Will you hide yourself forever? How long will your wrath burn like fire?” (Psalm 89:42-46).

We must remember 2 things: first that the sort of rule that Jesus founded and rejoiced in was never a rule of power and might and domination but one of modesty, humility and love. That sort of power is slowly making its way across the world even in these days. Second that one day this world will come to an end. When it does Jesus will come to the fore and then he will be the king of all the world. Oh, for that day!

Click or Tap here to listen to or save this as an audio mp3 file

~

You can now purchase our Partakers books including Roger's latest - The Puzzle of Living - A fresh look at the story of Job!

Please do click or tap here to visit our Amazon site!

Click or tap on the appropriate link below to subscribe, share or download our iPhone App!
Subscribe in podnovaI heart FeedBurneritunes_logo.giffacebook.giftwitter.gifAdd to Google Reader or Homepage
Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Read Full Post »