Friday

But What About Those Who Have Never Heard About Jesus

Often times when I am called upon to speak, teach or share about Jesus, these types of questions are asked…
“What about those who have not heard about Jesus?”
 “Will God punish someone who has never heard about Him?” 
“What if missionaries do not reach that particular tribe in their home land, will they be judged the same way as those who have heard?” 
“What if a person had physical disabilities that hindered their understanding of God?”
 
As you can see, in my occupation of serving God’s church and people as a whole, many questions will arise when the topic of God and Jesus come up. The short answer to these questions is that God is a merciful, loving and kind God.  Being holy first and foremost as well as omnipotent, omnipresent and
Omnipresent He has the answers to all the questions that were ever asked.
But as I often say to my husband when he speaks in general terms. “I want details.”
“I need details.”  My goal is to go deeper with more details dealing with important questions as I share in this article and future ones to come.
 
Jesus’ Claim
 
In the gospels there is one of several scenes,  that display the tenderness of Christ Jesus and His incredible holiness that is shown through in His awesome loving and comfort.   He is speaking to His disciples, comforting them encouraging them to keep their focus on God and on Him, because He is going to heaven to prepare a place for them. 
Jesus makes the claim that He is the ONLY way to salvation.  Then verifies and solidifies His claim.  It was inconceivable for the disciples to be separated from Him, after being with him, basically 24/7 for the past three years. They longed to be with Jesus and were distraught about His leaving. This scene starts with Jesus encouraging His beloved disciples and ending with Thomas, the spokesman for the group asking Jesus one of the most important questions to mankind.
Do not let your heart be troubled;
believe in God, believe also in Me.
“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places;
if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself,
that where I am, there you may be also.
“And you know the way where I am going.”
Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going,
how do we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life;
no one comes to the Father but through Me.-
John 14:1-6
 
Those that are followers of Jesus as Lord, hold to the above saying as the very core, the very solid foundation of what we not only believe but know to be true as Christians.
But yet others may ask…well what about all the other variables in the world? 
Us humans live in a pluralistic world full of a multitude of societies with people of all kinds of social classes, religions, races, etc., yet we are continuing to have different traditions and interests.  As the saying goes, “America is the melting pot. And the melting pot is the world.”
So how do we factor all of that into the equation?
 
Is this claim right?
I mentioned earlier that many questions come my way in regards to Christianity and as a servant of most holy God.  Some people are actually offended when I tell them that “Jesus is the ONLY way.”  They forget that these are not my words but the words of Jesus; therefore I am simple quoting my Savior.  However, for those who want to sincerely understand and question who Jesus really is, the answer is found as they study the Bible for themselves, learning the holy truths of God.
 
Some people will question Jesus’ claim of being the only way and Him being God.  There are usually three camps of thought that people nestle themselves into:
1) Jesus had to be a liar   OR   
2) Jesus had to be a crazy person who needs to be locked up in a mental institution OR , the final answer 3)  Jesus was and is Lord of all.   
 
All that Jesus claimed was true so He cannot be a liar.  Jesus cannot be a lunatic because all of His claims is, was and always will be truth so we must except that Jesus is the final answer as the viewpoint of followers of Jesus who process Christianity as their faith.
 
Questions, Questions, Questions= Valid Certified Answers
Questions are good they help understand and lead us to the knowledge that we seek
While some people reading this might respond by asking more questions, such as:
Question:“ But what about good, moral people?”
Answer:  The good person is someone who has never, not at any time since they were born committed or even thought of a moral crime.  In other words they have never offended God’s throne.  If there was such a person, we would not need Jesus.  But because no one can rise and validate that claim to themselves, we can conclude that because no one is good, not one…verifies that we all need Jesus.  God is a just and fair One.  He offers us Jesus as a pardon for the remission of our sins.  So we are responsible to respond to His gracious loving offer through acceptance and praise.
 
Question: “But I have not committed that many wrong things (sins), why would this apply to me?”
Answer:  Just because we are innocent of the majority of things, still does not prove or validate that we as humans are or can be perfect.  From the time we are born to the time we die we are repeat offenders when it comes to sin/wrong doings.  God’s justice requires that we are perfect.  But you might ask  “How can I be perfect?  NO ONE is perfect!”  But there is more…God knowing we are not perfect provides for us to render us completely guilt free
What pure joy!
 
To continue, PART II…coming soon
 
YOUR TURN:  What are your questions?  Ask, seek and you will find Jesus! 
Search for the answers in the pages of your Bible.
 
Resources:
- The Holy Bible- The Gospel of John 14: 1-3
- Stand to Reason-http://www.str.org/- Dr. Greg Koukl
 
Calendar:
August – 2015 – Women’s Bible Study:  Spiritual Warfare:  Overcoming the Enemy.
All are welcome to attend. Tuesday mornings AND evenings
For more info. contact:  Church on Randall Place at  1- (928) 476-4249 www.churchonrandallplace.org
 
About the Author:
Simone Lake is a Christ follower, bride of Pastor Dr. John Lake, Bible teacher and a passionate pray-er. Visit her on: www.deeprootsinchrist.com,  www.simonelake.com, http://deeprootsinchrist.sermon.net, FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn
 
NOTE:  This devotional article is part of her series of Apologetics Writings.
Simone is currently completing her studies in Apologetics at Biola University
and is a member and speaker of the International Society of Women in Apologetics (ISWA)
http://womeninapologetics.com
 

Tuesday

Factual Account of Jesus vs Historical Jesus


Last month, in my monthly article of Firm Foundations, I used a true story analogy of a women who was a victim of a crime.  This criminal had stolen her identity and too much avail had a difficult time amidst all the lies declaring Her true identity.  No matter how much she provided correct documentation and valid evidence to disprove the lies, the end result were some people believed her based on her evidence and some people doubted her, because skeptics and critics even though they had knowledge and understanding of the same true evidence.

I liken that situation to the situation of those believing, or not believing in Jesus

Do you personally believe in the Messiah Jesus Christ? Do you believe in the true accounts of who He is The One who died on the cross, shed His blood and has been resurrected currently sitting on the right hand side of God at this very moment, praying for the saints and rules and reigns for eternity

Some people are skeptics and critics when it comes to believing, receiving and following in Jesus.  These doubters not only disbelieve scripture, and eye witness accounts, but they question Jesus’ claims Himself, distorting the true accounts of who. This philosophy did not just happen recently in the 21st century. The first quest for a historical Jesus begin in the 19th century under the German liberalism movement. It died with WWI along with classical liberalism the new terminology.  Back then, the liberalism focus went after a dogmatic theology and supernatural events.  In 1950’s the second quest arose again, claiming that the knowledge of history and the faith based on factual evidence was not a needed thing.

The 3rd quest happened in 1970’s in particular the 1980’s.  Includes views on Jesus as a person who fit into 1st century Palestine only having a Jewish background.

 

What is “The Historical Jesus “ ?

The term "historical Jesus" refers to an individual or a group of people and their attempt to "reconstruct the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth by critical historical methods", in contrast to Christological definitions ('the dogmatic Christ') and other Christian accounts of Jesus ('the Christ of faith')".

 For centuries…skeptics have tried to reconstruct, rearrange and re-identify who Jesus is,

yet the scriptures clearly states in the writings of Hebrew that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever.”  Hebrews 13:8

So when asking yourself in which side to believe… factual accounts of Jesus versus the historical Jesus, the answers lie in some questions that would help you to clarify on which side you stand.  Do you stand on the side of believing that Jesus in the Messiah?  Or do you stand on the side of the critics adapting a Historical Philosophy. Are the Gospel accurate historical records or merely religious propaganda? Did Jesus really claim to be God, and how do we know if He is?

The Deity of Christ

Who do you say that I am?  This is Jesus’ question to Peter when the critics of the day questioned Him.  Marks account states, “ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered and said to Him, ‘You are the Christ. ‘ ” Luke’s account states, “He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered and said, ‘ The Christ of God.’ ”

Jesus begs the answer to this question and those following Him answered the question properly. Let us look at Jesus and additional scripture What else did Jesus say about Himself? 
"All things have been handed over to me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. - Mark 14:61-62
 
Critics do not accept the claim and factual truth that Jesus made declaring He is God.  Here are some scripture accounts that refute the doubt that the critics and skeptics have.
Jesus clearly declares who He is.
 
The Resurrection
Although most critics doubt who Christ is, His resurrection and the evidence of the gospel accounts.  Some critics accept Paul’s writings in the Bible over the gospels, because
Apostle Paul and his writings are a valid source to believe that the resurrection truly took place. There are many reasons why the critics of Christ accept Paul’s writings over the gospels; some include;
1)   Paul’s writings are much earlier than the gospels times of writings, thus more believable
2)  Paul wrote his epistles approximately AD 54-57…at the very most 27 years after the crucifixion, so it is easier to believe Paul as an eye witness with what he saw and wrote.
3)  Critics are willing to believe that Paul did see the risen Jesus, Liars do not make martyrs and that his is the most important fact.
Apostle Paul gives clear account on the resurrection of Christ in I Corinthians 15.
Read and learn of Jesus and who He is and His resurrection.   
 
Now, you decide. Decide for yourself, based on the evidence of Jesus, His claims of declaring with great accuracy that He is who He says He is.  Will you accept Jesus and all of HIS factual accounts of Him being the Messiah?  Of his truthful claim of being the Son of God, the Son of Man and the promised Savior sent to redeem a fallen mankind back to holy God through the shed blood of Jesus.
  
Resources:
- The Holy Bible
- Wikipedia
-The Historical Jesus by Dr. Gary Habermas
- Evidence for a Resurrection by Mary Jo Sharp
 
About the Author:
Simone Lake is a Christ follower, bride of Pastor Dr. John Lake, Bible teacher and a passionate pray-er. Visit her: www.deeprootsinchrist.com,  www.simonelake.com, http://deeprootsinchrist.sermon.net, FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn
 
NOTE:  This devotional article is part of a series of Apologetics Writings.
Simone is currently completing her studies in Apologetics at Biola University and is a member and speaker of the International Society of Women in Apologetics (ISWA)
http://womeninapologetics.com

Friday

Jesus is OUR Lord !


Recently a woman in the news was shocked, surprised and completely bewildered at the fact that someone had stolen her identity and began to misrepresent who she really was.  She was an upright citizen, never having a criminal record but yet this imposter was a criminal and they did have a record. Many lies, rumors, false information was spread about her and the most difficult and damaging thing of the whole situation was the fact that people actually believed the lies. Even though she had clear evidence proving who she was, people, even those as eye witnesses of her personally, made a decision to trust in lies rather than the truth of who she really is.  Needless to say, this whole situation, even though it happened years ago, still affects her to this day.

Have you ever had an experience like this?  Have you ever had someone completely misrepresent who you are?  Have you ever been misquoted, misunderstood, lied about or even slandered against?  It doesn’t feel good does it? It is awful!  It is a breaking and heart wrenching to your soul.  Not only is it a miserable place to be, but there is an ongoing nagging quest of pursuing proper justice to get the correct information in the hands of those who believe the lies... for them to understand the truth once and for all to get the story straight to bring out what is right … to defend the innocent and clarify the questions of doubt.

The same is so with Jesus

Who is Jesus someone might ask?  This is an age old question that many have tried to figure out, investigate, research and still debate about to this day.  For centuries this topic has caused people to reason, stumped the blind, fooled the foolish and solidified the truth.  Many have claimed and ascribed various identities, definitions and character develop thesis of just who Jesus is.  The many claims and arguments that try to identify who Jesus is, start from the beginning of time. Some of the claims include; that Jesus was a crazy man with mental issues, others say that Jesus was just a teacher; still others believe that Jesus was just a good man, a good son... or that Jesus was not fully God. The wide spectrum include everything  from being just a human son all the way to being a devil (Matthew 12)  and so goes all the many claims of Jesus.

So Who Is This Jesus?

Much like the example of the women with the stolen identity above…who would you believe?  Which claim and which information is accurate?  Which one is true?

The evidence is found in the witness (es) of the one who knows the truth.

Wouldn’t you want to go to this woman directly and find out the truth from her? Wouldn’t you seek out documents, verification and truth to confirm what she says?  Yes, that would be the correct format for seeking justice and truth…research and reason.

The same in the case with Jesus…you would go to the source, HIM, and find out what He has to say regarding who He is.

So, let us go to the source of Jesus and find out.  We find His truth in the pages of the Bible giving us a firsthand picture and acknowledgement of His identity and work on earth.

What does Jesus say about Himself?

JESUS IS HOLY:

God is absolutely and perfectly holy. As God, Jesus embodied every element of God's character. Paul writes to those in the town of Colossi who Christ is “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” In Hebrews, the author also speaks of Jesus,

“ For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” Peter tells us "You shall be holy, for I am holy."

JESUS IS OUR SAVIOR:  

Which asks the question “What do one need saving from?”  That is a valid question to ask and the author of Romans tells us as it is written, “There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.”   Luke tells us that And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

JESUS IS OUR LORD!:
Most importantly, Jesus is OUR Lord.  The Bible clearly reveals that Jesus has complete supreme authority over all and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship. John tells us that All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”  Paul tells us in Colossians that “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.”

If you have yet to follow Christ as your Lord, I invite you, Jesus’ invites you…would you please stop and make the time, take the time right now to ask Jesus OUR Lord into your life to become YOUR Lord?

PRAYER:
Dear Lord,
By reading this, I have learned that not only are You OUR Lord but I am asking you to come into my heart and be MY personal Lord.   I admit that I need to turn away from actions, deeds, doings that offend your throne and your word yet I also confess that I cannot do that unless you take the lead and guide me by changing my heart, mind and soul.  I seek to follow you and your word fully, completely and faithfully leading others to do the same. Thank you Lord for being MY Lord as well as OUR Lord and Thank You Jesus for spilling your blood as sacrifice for me on the cross- AMEN

Scripture References:
Romans 3:23
Romans 3:10-12
Acts 4:12
Colossians 2:9
Hebrews 4:15
I Peter 1:16


About the author:
Simone Lake is a Christ follower, bride of Pastor Dr. John Lake, Bible teacher and a passionate pray-er. Visit her: www.deeprootsinchrist.com,  www.simonelake.com, http://deeprootsinchrist.sermon.net, FaceBook, Twitter and LinkedIn
Simone is currently completing her studies in Apologetics at Biola University and is a member and speaker of the International Society of Women in Apologetics (ISWA)