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The Wall: Propitiation (Part 4 of 8)

Propitiation

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by “The Wall,” an impassable barrier. The Wall constitutes MANKIND’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the third brick in The Wall and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross.

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The third brick in the wall is the character of God. You may be wondering why the character of God would constitute a problem for mankind?” God is love, right? Here is why: another aspect of God’s character is holiness, which means He is righteous (absolute goodness) and just (totally fair). Therefore, He, in no manner or way may compromises His integrity by having fellowship with any form of sin or even a sinful creature ( 1 John 1:5). So when the Bible speaks of God’s holiness, it is referring to the divine characteristics of righteousness and justice. These qualities are absolutes that cannot be compromised. Therefore, sin is an affront to God’s holiness. Please don’t get me wrong. God is not self-righteous or a prude. Those qualities are reserved for religious humans who prefer legalism over spirituality. Sin is simply incompatible with His divine nature. If you are human and proclaim to be without sin, the Bible says you are a liar (1 John 1:8).The Bible says, “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and (spiritual) death through sin, and thus, οὕτως, literally, in this manner,(spiritual) death spread to all men, because, ἐφ’ ᾧ, literally, on the basis of which (spiritual death), all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). What this often mistranslated verse is saying is that we are not sinners because we sin. To the contrary, we sin because we came into this world spiritually dead, and for that reason, we commit sin (Romans 3:23). As a result, we are incapable of entering into the presence of God (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 8:8 cf. Exodus 33:20). Divine righteousness demands that every sinner be judged for his sins. In view of God’s justice, there is no one who is worthy to escape condemnation. As a result, man has a problem.

THE CROSS, GOD’S SOLUTION:

God’s solution to the problem of the character of God is propitiation. Propitiation refers to the fact that God was satisfied, even pleased with the absolute righteousness of Jesus Christ and was therefore justified in accepting His sinless life as the ransom price for our eternal souls.

In Romans 3:25, the Greek word, hilastarion, is translated “propitiation” in the King James Version (KJV) and “a sacrifice of atonement” in the New International Version (NIV). No matter how one translates it, the Greek word means that which appeases, makes atonement, or satisfies someone who has been offended. But in Hebrews 9:5, the same word is translated “mercy seat” (KJV) and “atonement cover” (NIV). Why two applications of the same Greek word?

Man! That is a lot of stuff to process. Therefore, please allow me to connect you with the ways of the ancients, specifically, the Romans, They were not like you and me. They did not grow up in a Western, Judaea -Christian society. What we are about to discuss is a matter of perspective.

 

The Pantheon

The Pantheon was originally a temple dedicated to all the gods of Ancient Rome. The way we see it today was generally how it was rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in 125 AD.

The text in view here, in Romans, was written to believers living in a pagan culture. From a Gentile perspective, a propitiation, was a sacrifice to appease the gods. The purpose of the sacrifice would be to gain the favour of the gods or get them to overlook some sin or shortcoming. In the Bible, propitiation refers to the sacrificial death of Christ which satisfied the holiness of God on our behalf. Paul simply used the word to communicate a truth of the gospel in a way that believers from a pagan culture could relate to.

Now let’s look at the word, propitiation, from another perspective, specifically, the ancient Jewish perspective.

 

Herod’s Temple

Propitiation in the Old Testament: The Biblical concept of propitiation relates back to the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament.  The Hebrew word for propitiation is kapphoreth. From the Jewish perspective, it meant “mercy seat“. When the Old Testament was translated into Greek by the Hebrew scholars of the third century B. C., the Hebrew word, kapphoreth, was translated with the Greek word, hilastarion (Exodus 25:17).

 

 

The Day of Atonement: Prior to the Cross, God ordained specific rituals as expressions of worship and as training aids for communicating Biblical truths to people who were largely illiterate. Among these observances, certain animal sacrifices were used to teach God’s people about their Messiah, their Savior, and the plan of salvation. The Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16; 23:26-32) was the most solemn of all the rituals that involved animal sacrifices because it signified the sacrificial death of the Lamb of God.

Yom Kippur literally means “the day of covering” (Leviticus 23:27). This was the only day that anyone was ever permitted to enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, or in the temple after it had been constructed. On this day only the high priest was able to enter, but only after he had brought an offering on behalf of his own sins (Leviticus 16:11-13).

Two sacrifices were required on this holy day: a young bull (Leviticus 16:6) and one of two goats (Leviticus 16:7-10, 15-16). The high priest sacrificed the bull on the brass altar as a sin offering for himself. The blood, representing Christ’s spiritual death on the cross, was collected in a basin and carried past the huge curtain into the Holy of Holies. There he sprinkled it on the “mercy seat.”

From the Hebrew perspective, the Greek word, hilastarion, as well as the Hebrew word, kapporeth, both meant “mercy seat.” They refer to the lid of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant was a wooden box overlaid with gold. The acacia wood spoke of the humanity of Christ; and the gold, of His deity. Together these materials represented the uniqueness of the God-Man, Jesus Christ.

The ark contained three items: a pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the stone tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were written. Each of these items depicted sin. The tables of the Law were a reminder of Israel’s violations of the Mosaic Law, and therefore showed transgression against God’s authority. Aaron’s rod exhibited rejection of God’s plan regarding the authority of the Levitical priesthood, and the pot of manna called to mind man’s rejection of divine provision.

The “mercy seat”, itself was the lid that fit over the top of the ark. On each end of the “mercy seat,” a golden figure of a cherub or angel knelt, looking down. One cherub represented the righteousness of God; the other, His justice. In between the two was the Shekinah Glory, a supernatural manifestation of God’s presence (you can Google it). Together they represented the holiness of God which was looking down into the arc at the sins of Israel in judgment. But once a year, on the Day of Atonement, a wonderful event took place. The blood of a bull was sprinkled on top of the “mercy seat”, so that when righteousness and justice looked down, they saw the representation of the blood of Christ covering the sins of the high priest. God’s holiness was satisfied on his, the high priest’s, behalf.

The high priest then went out and sacrificed one of the goats as an offering for the people. Bringing the goat’s blood in a bowl, he entered the Holy of Holies a second time, and again he sprinkled blood over the “mercy seat.” This time the spiritual death of Christ was dramatized as covering the sins of all the people.

Without the symbolic blood of animals, not even the High Priest of Israel could enter the Holy of Holies. Jesus Christ, having completed His work on the cross, breathed His last words, “It is finished,” and His soul and spirit departed His broken body.  (John 19:30). At that point, the great curtain that blocked entry to the Holy of Holies was miraculously, ripped from top to bottom by the mighty power of God (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). This event told the world that Christ had removed the third brick in The Wall between God and man.

Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He (Christ) entered the Most Holy Place once for all having obtained eternal redemption (for all mankind), ” (Hebrews 9:12).

Jesus Christ never entered the Holy of Holies in the Temple which was a mere shadow. But when He ascended, He entered the real Holy of Holies, the literal presence of God in heaven (Hebrews 9:24). In contrast to the Levitical high priest who had to enter the Holy of Holies twice, the Lord, Jesus Christ, our high priest, required no special offering on His own behalf. Instead, the perfect Lamb of God offered Himself as a sacrifice to pay for the sins of all mankind.

Therefore, “He (Christ) is the atoning sacrifice, hilasmos, lit. propitiation, for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

 

When God looks at the believer, He never looks beyond the blood of Jesus Christ that covers our sins. As a result, His holiness is eternally satisfied, and we are free to enter into His loving embrace.

The Wall: Expiation (Part 3 of 8)

EXPIATION

Expiation

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by “The Wall,” an impassable barrier. The barrier constitutes MANKIND’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the second brick in the wall and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross.

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The second brick is the penalty for sin. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). When Adam chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, he brought the penalty of spiritual death crashing down upon the entire human race (Romans 5:12). As a result we come into this world spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1, 5; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Colossians 2:13). By our very nature we are born enemies of God (Romans 5:10) and children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). As a result, man has a problem.

Here is the part where I get to tell you a story.

God created Adam, and he was perfect (ladies, don’t even try to envision this man, he doesn’t exist anymore than does the Garden of Eden). Then God told him to go out into the world and give everything a name (Geneses 2). However, during the process, Adam noticed a discrepancy in Eden between God’s creation and himself. All the creatures he had been observing, naming and categorizing came in pairs. All but he, and he alone, had a mate. And so, he discovered a feeling he had never experienced before. He became lonely. It was not a very nice feeling. It hurt, way down deep inside, in a place that he had not ever even known existed. It was then, I believe, that the first tear fell and trickled down the face of humankind.

Since the only real friend Adam had ever known was his Father, God, he raised his eyes to heaven and wondered, “What would it be like, to touch the face of another of my kind? What would it be like to be with someone and share life? And so, he wandered, and he felt something that he had never felt before. He felt desire. What must that have been like? To want to love a woman, having never met one, and to want to be a father, having never experienced anything outside of what went on in the animal kingdom to which he was confined.

Then God looked down at His only man child, and He felt compassion. Yahweh was the first to speak, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18). And that’s how it happened; how the world of humanity came into existence. It all began in a garden.

In the beginning they were happy, Adam and his beautiful bride, Eve. At sunset, Yahweh would come to the garden and they would walk together. Then they would sit and talk, in the cool of the day. They stood together, shoulder to shoulder and marveled at the sunset, as the world around them closed their heavy eyelids and drifted off peacefully to a place that has long been forbidden to us.

But there was evil crouching in that pristine forest behind them. It was lurking behind the bushes, waiting for just the right moment, patient until the time was right. And, in stride with all else, alliances were being formed. And strategies, woven by a serpent, slithering along the damp forest floor. Evil plans were being formulated by a wicked monster. A creature, a dark thing, bent on destruction of all that God had created, blessed, and brought into existence.

And all the while, this force, this thing, this creature with only one obsession, laughing, snickering really, an evil sound unbridled by conscience, or anything holy was merely masterminding his own destruction. But that is a story I shall reserve for another day.

THE CROSS, GOD’S SOLUTION:

“What was their crime?”

This is a picture of real people being escorted to their unjust execution. Why would I show you this? Because I want you to think about something. Life and death is not about justice. It’s a choice. If you want to understand the purpose of life, than you need to understand the creator and sustainer of life. He is not without a plan. Everything He has ever done has a purpose, and it includes you. Please listen carefully to what I am about to say.

**Picture temporarily omitted

I reiterate, “What was their crime?”

“Being born.”

“And for that they must die?”

“Yes.”

“Doesn’t seem fair.”

“It’s not. So God stepped in”

God’s solution to the problem of the penalty for sin is expiation. The word expiation means to pay the penalty for a crime committed and thereby atone for a wrong that was done. When Adam and Eve were placed in The Garden they were given a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17a). The penalty for disobedience was instant death (Genesis 2:17b). Since Adam continued to live to be over nine hundred years old (Genesis 5:5), the death that he died on the day that he ate the fruit must have been a category of death other than physical. The day Adam and Eve ate the fruit they died spiritually.

What is spiritual death? Spiritual death is separation from God. It occurs when one falls short of God’s glory or divine integrity. If God were to disregard any aspect of His divine essence in order to enter into fellowship with a fallen creature, He would, in the process, compromise His divine integrity and, as a result of that compromise, cease to be God. Since God is immutable (unchanging) and incapable of compromising any of His divine attributes, He must turn away and separate Himself from anything that is less than perfect. When Adam fell into temptation, he willfully disobeyed God. In doing so, he changed his nature from God centered to self centered. By an independent act of his own will Adam became, by nature, a child of wrath and separated from God. At this point the Adamic or sinful nature came into existence (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9) and the nature of man was corrupted (Jeremiah 17:9; Eccl. 9:3) throughout all generations to come (Romans 5:12, 19; 1 Corinthians 15:22).

Repercussions of spiritual death: Since man is spiritually dead there is nothing that he can do to appease God in order to escape judgment (Romans 8:8). As we noted earlier to expiate means to make amends for committing a crime. A criminal makes amends by serving a prescribed sentence. After taking his punishment, the accused has paid his debt to society, and legally, the guilt is erased. But mankind can never repay its debt to God. Spiritually, the natural man is totally bankrupt. He owes God perfect righteousness, but is without the means to come up with it. There is none righteous, no, not one”(Romans 3:10).

Without the work of Christ on the cross, mankind would be doomed to eternal judgment; yet, God never leaves man in a hopeless situation. The substitutionairy death of Christ cancelled the staggering debt of the penalty of sin against us (Colossians 2:14). Only God’s grace can supply complete and perfect payment.

Since it is impossible for us to approach Him, God chose to come to us.

What did it cost? Acting as our substitute, Jesus Christ took upon himself the punishment for our sins. “The LORD has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). God the Father judged those sins in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). The penalty for our sins is spiritual death (Genesis 2:17).

At one point while our sins were being poured out on Jesus Christ and judged, He screamed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34 cf. Psalms 22:1). What made Him scream? Our Lord screamed because “He (God the Father) made the one having never known sin (Christ) to be sin on our behalf, in order that we might become righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The payment for our sins was the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ on the cross. Jesus Christ, in His humanity, suffered spiritual death on the cross so that we could have spiritual life. Because God can have no fellowship with darkness (1 John 1:5), God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit had to turn their backs on the humanity of Jesus Christ while He was being made sin for us (1 Timothy 6:16).

Jesus Christ, as the only perfect man, was qualified to pay this debt. Our Lord was the “lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Only the perfect humanity of Christ, “a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1: 19), could accomplish salvation.

When Jesus at last said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), His atoning work was finished and the problem of the penalty of sin was removed.

How valuable are we! David declared the creation of the universe the mere finger work of God (Psalms 8:3). Yet Isaiah says that God made bare His holy arm in the accomplishment of our salvation (Isaiah 52:10). If God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16), then how valuable are we and how precious must we be in His sight!

The Wall: Redemption (Part 2 of 8)

REDEMPTION

By Dennis Coulter

For the sake of illustration, consider the “The Wall” between God and fallen mankind as a barrier composed of six bricks. The barrier constitutes MANKIND’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the first brick of the Barrier and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross.

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The first brick of the Barrier is sin. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one … For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23). Sin is anything that falls short of the holiness of God or violates His expressed will. Since God can have no fellowship with sin (1 John 1:5-6) mankind has a problem.

THE CROSS, GOD’S SOLUTION:

God’s solution to the problem of sin is redemption. Redemption? Sounds like something out of a Shakespearean play or even worse. I will admit, it’s a pretty old fashioned word from an old translation of the Bible. But it’s a good word, a nice word really. It means freedom. But a special kind of freedom. The only kind that a lord could give.

Walk back with me, if you will please; back to a time in American history that not many of us would really care to retrace. But there was a shameful period in our nation’s past when we had the raw audacity to market flesh and blood. We sold people, like cattle, in the open market place, in front of our children. We broke up families and auctioned them, piecemeal as a section of property or unwanted furniture. We did that, and the title of a slave owner was “lord.” It has always been so. Lord! A title of absolute authority. But with absolute authority also comes the power to do good.

Imagine yourself as a slave tied to a whipping post. Your only crime was that you tried to escape. But you were caught and  dragged back to the slave market to be sold, but only, after your punishment had been administered. Suddenly, a cry is heard from the crowd. “Stop! Let him go! I wish to purchase him!” The man with the whip hesitates, he seems confused. This man, the man in the the crowd, is a “lord”, a man of means, well dressed. And people step aside as he moves through the throng of unwashed humanity.

Just then, the slave master comes forward and issues a command, “Stop! Right there! This slave belongs to me, and he owes me forty lashes for his crimes.” The lord responds, “I wish to redeem him. What is your price?” As the slave master, looks the young lord over, a malignant gleam emanates from the pupil of his eye. The words that follow are firm and precise, “Forty lashes, plus the price of a slave.”

Upon hearing these words, the young lord bows, takes off is shirt and walks to the whipping post to which the slave is bound. Then, turning to the slave master, he says, quite deliberately, “I understand the terms of of your offer. Let him go. I will pay his debt in full and pay the purchases price.”

And so he did. After the following events transpired, the slave approached his new master and knelt, placing his forehead upon the ground before him. But before he could utter a word, new his lord spoke these words: “I purchased you in order to set you free. You are redeemed. Please accept my gift and go in peace my friend.”

The thing in view here, from God’s perspective, is grace. It’s from the Greek word, χάριs, which means “gift.”

Redemption is a gift. But it is a very special kind of gift that can only be granted by someone with absolute authority, a “lord,” if you will.  You see, redemption is the process through which, one who has the authority and the means, uses his assets to purchase a slave, but not for the the purpose of indentured service. No! He, does it for the sole purpose, of  setting him free.

Because “there is none righteous” we have all come into this life as slaves. As the children of Adam, we were all born sinners, and upon our arrival to this fallen world, we were cast into the slave market of sin called Planet Earth. And there we will remain until the day we accept our redemption. As slaves we will serve our master, sin, as slaves forever, unless we accept God’s solution. That solution is redemption.

Now that you know what redemption is, let’s take a look at it from a Biblical perspective. In the Bible, redemption means to purchase a sinner from bondage to sin and set him free to serve God in the joy of the Lord. The price paid to redeem sinners from the slave market of sin was the death of Jesus Christ on the cross (1 Peter 1:18-19).

What is bondage to sin? With regard to sin, we all came into this world with three strikes against us:

Strike one!  First, we inherited Adam’s sin. “For just as through the disobedience of one man (Adam) the many were made sinners” (Romans  5:19a ).  As progeny, or offspring, of Adam, we were born physically alive but spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1, 5). As a result, we came into this world spiritually blind and separated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:17-18).

 

Strike two! Second, we were born with a sinful nature (Romans 6:6; Ephesians. 4: 22; Colossians 3:9). The sinful nature is totally depraved (Ecclesiastics 9:3; Jeremiah 17:9). The seat of man’s selfish, egocentric nature, anything it motivates either the carnal believer or the unbeliever to do is unacceptable to God (Romans 8:8).

 

Strike three! Eventually, we all commit personal sins. Let’s be honest. At one time or another we all fall short and miss the mark; that is to say, we all sin. But,  just so you know; you are not a sinner because you sin. You sin because you were born a sinner. It’s not even your fault, but you do have to deal with it.

You’re out! As far as God’s is righteousness is concerned we all came into this life a loser. We aren’t even qualified to try out for the team.  Perfect righteousness can have nothing to do with any of us. Paul quotes David “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10 cf. Psalms 14:1-3). However, thanks be to God that His love motivated Him to act in our behalf. “For God so, in this way, loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

 How did God love us?  Let us count the ways:

1. Strike one was cancelled at the cross. “So also through the obedience of one man (Jesus) the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19b).

2. Strike two was cancelled at the cross. In contrast to Adam, by means of the virgin birth, Jesus Christ came into this world without the imputed sin of Adam and without a sinful nature. Though Jesus did have a human mother His father was God the Holy Spirit. In this way Jesus was born fully human, but without the Adamic nature. In addition, Christ lived a life free from personal sin. Because Jesus was free from all three categories of sin, He was qualified to go to the cross and redeem sinful man.

 

As a result, the believer, being freed from bondage to sin, is justified to be filled with the Holy Spirit and produce fruit acceptable to God “…against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

3. Strike three was cancelled at the cross. The personal sins of the entire world were poured out on Christ and judged (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because his personal sins have been paid for by Christ, the believer need only confess his sins and turn back to God in order for fellowship to be restored (1 John 1:9; Psalms 51:1-3).

Who has been redeemed? When Jesus Christ died on the cross He paid for the sins of the entire human race, past , present, and future    (2 Corinthians 5:14; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Hebrews 2:9; 2 Peter 2:1; 3:9; 1 John 2:3). Because Christ has redeemed the entire human race from bondage to sin, all anyone must do to depart the slave market of sin is walk through the door.

Where is the door? Jesus is the door to eternal life “I am the door, ἐάν τις, literally, the Greek says, if any man enter in (third class conditional clause: maybe he will, maybe he won’t) he shall be saved” (John 10:9). Once a person chooses to walk through the door by faith in Christ, he enters into eternal life with God forever (John 10:27-28).

The bottom line: The Wall, the sin barrier, between God and man has been demolished by Jesus Christ at the cross. The price of our redemption has been paid in full. We are free to walk through the door, from darkness to light. If a person chooses to remain in the slave market of sin, he does so by his own choice. The issue is no longer sin, but faith in Christ (John 3:16-21).

 

 

 

The Wall (Part 1 of 8)

The Life saving station

by Theordore Wedel

On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant vigil over the sea, and, with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little life-saving station grew.

Some members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. Eventually, they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. In time, the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members. So, they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely and, through their efforts, it became sort of club.

As time continued to pass, fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they elected an administrative board, to hire life-boat crews to do this work. The life-saving motif still prevailed in the club’s decoration, and there was a liturgical life-boat in the room where the club initiations were held. Then a terrible tragedy occurred. A large ship was wrecked just off the coast. The hired life-boat crews rowed out to sea and diligently searched for the lost. In earnest, they brought in boat loads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon life-saving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked on those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. And so, they did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet, another life-saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.

 

RECONCILIATION

by Dennis Coulter

Objective: In this series of discussions, we are going to take a close look at all that God has done to reconcile fallen man to himself through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to better equip the members of our church family to more effectively fulfill our personal roles in the accomplishment of the great commission. If you’re not sure what that is, just hang in there. This is only part one of eight. The sea of humanity is froth with souls, drowning in sin. And we, the church, have been given a mission, given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20).

And guess what Christians; this is it! We are the life-boat crews. Not the missionaries, not the evangelists, not the pastors. They have their specific missions. And, as far as I can tell, most of them are pulling their weight. They are professionals, it’s their job. And you darn well better be throwing nickels into the coffer to cover their expenses. But I’m not talking to them; I’m talking to you! What are you doing? Are you out there; rowing through the dark water looking for drowning souls, or sitting in a soft cushy chair in the lodge sipping lemonade? I’m drawing a line in the sand here. Step across or get out of the fight.

 

Well, if you’re still with me, let’s get started. First thing you’re going to need is a weapon (our enemy, Satan, is armed and dangerous). We Christians use a sword. The Roman, Biblical, term is, μάχαιρα, machaira. It was only eighteen inches long, but in the hands of trained professionals, it was the weapon that conquered the world. Our sword is, ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ, the Word of God.

Pick it up. Open it, and follow along. I’m an old vet. I’ve been training warriors for over thirty years. It’s really not that hard. Just pay attention. And have fun!

Definition: Reconciliation is the restoration of friendship and fellowship after estrangement. Biblically, it refers to all that God has done to remove the BARRIER between fallen man and Himself. The doctrine of Reconciliation explains the process through which God has enabled the lost to pass from darkness into light. Therefore, it was labelled, το εὐαγγελίοv, “The Gospel” by our Lord which literally means Good News (Mark 1:1; 15).

What is our responsibility? It is the responsibility of every believer to carry out the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18) through personal evangelism (Ephesians 6: 14-15; 1 Peter 3:15). In order to do this effectively, every believer must be willing and able to declare the Good News lucidly and with confidence. Discuss the feelings generated by this responsibility with a friend and then get back to me. I would be interested to know the the outcome. I really would.

The good news about The Good News: God has not commissioned us to represent Him and fulfill His purpose in our own power (1 Thessalonians 1:5). No matter what the circumstances in which we may find ourselves, we are never on our own in personal evangelism (Acts 1:8). Rather, God the Father, in accordance with His plan, has commissioned God the Holy Spirit to support every believer who desires to proclaim the Gospel with a three fold ministry. This ministry is called Common Grace: “And when He (Holy Spirit) comes He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement” (John 16:8-11).

1. “He will convict the world of sin.”  The Greek word for convict, ἐλέγξει, elegxei, means to convict or convince on the basis of evidence.

The Greek word for sin, ἁμαρτία, hamartia, means to miss the mark or fall short of a given standard. Man’s personal righteousness is not sufficient to qualify him to enter into fellowship with Holy God (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 8:8). It is the personal ministry of God The Holy Spirit to convict each person who hears the gospel of his inability to stand before God on the basis of his own personal righteousness.

“because they believe not in me.” God’s standard of righteousness is the righteousness that comes exclusively by faith in Christ (Romans 3:28). Therefore, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin because they do not possess the righteousness of God by faith in Christ (John 16:9 cf. Romans 3:22).

2. “Of righteousness.” The Greek word for righteousness ,δικαιοσύνη , dikaiosunahe, means absolute conformity to God’s standard, purpose, and will. God the Holy Spirit convicts the world of the fact that they crucified an innocent man. Jesus Christ was exactly who He said He was. The Son of God, and  God the Son incarnate.

“because I go to My Father.” God the Father would not have resurrected an impostor. When God glorified Christ through resurrection and ascension, He publicly gave His seal of approval to the personal testimony of Jesus Christ.

3. “Of judgement.”  God, who is righteous and just, will execute judgement upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).

because the prince of this world is judged.” Satan, the declared enemy of God, the author of sin, and “the prince of this world” was defeated at the cross. As a result, it is only a matter of time until God executes judgement upon all His enemies. If He has conquered His greatest foe, Satan, then He will certainly subdue all others in due time. Through the clear communication of the gospel and the convincing ministry of the Holy Spirit this is deeply felt by the convicted sinner. While I’m on the subject of Satan. Let’s say there was an election a few years back; an election to elect the ruler of the world and you voted for Satan. How’s that worken’ out for ya’ ? How’s that world peace thing coming along? ”

Would you like to see a vision of world peace that you can take to the bank?

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21).

The better news about the Good News: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:17).  Fearing that God will justly condemn him, the convicted unbeliever trembles at the apprehension of approaching condemnation. From this state of alarm there is no refuge but to run to Him who defeated the great enemy of man, and who is able to deliver him from the vengeance due to his sins.

The best news about the Good News: For those who seek refuge in Jesus Christ there is no condemnation (John 3:18). They have passed from darkness into light (John 3:21; 8:12). The barrier between God and man has been permanently removed (Ephesians 2:14-18 cf. Romans 8:38-39).

Clarifying the issue: The issue for the unbeliever is faith in Christ. The ministry of God the Holy Spirit in Reconciliation is to convince the world of their need for Christ on the basis of “sin, righteousness, and Judgement.”

The issue for the believer, then, is to make an issue of the issue and to make the issue clear in light of (2 Corinthians 6:3).

Conclusion:

Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship with God the Father through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The church is not a social club; it is a family of believers who are born again through faith in Christ and the regenerative power of God the Holy Spirit.

Our mission is not to beautify the beach; it is to go out into the sea of humanity and save the lost from drowning.


The Gap Theory

“The Gap Theory”

By Dennis Coulter

The Gap theory. I don’t buy the Gap theory, but I’ll tell you what. One of the most respected teachers and probably the greatest influence in my spiritual life is Pastor R. B. Thieme. He is with the Lord now, but he did believe in the Gap theory. He wrote a book called Creation, Chaos, & Restoration. It’s the best representation of the Gap theory that I have ever read, and it’s only about 50 pages. You can see it on line if you go to R. B. Thieme ministries, click on publications and then go to creation. You can order it at no charge or give a donation. That’s the way “Bob” did things, at least, that’s the way it was when he was running the show.

 Here’s my take on the subject:

 Mankind is not the product of evolution, but the direct creation of God. I believe that God created the earth with the appearance of age. He did the same thing with Adam and Eve (He created them as young adults, ready to procreate) and with the wine He provided at the wedding (John 2:1).

 Genesis 1:27 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;”

The 1st person plural form of the verb tells us that this is not only a statement, but a discussion. The persons involved would be the Triune Godhead. i. e. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

 … So God created man.  The creator of all that has been created is God the Son (Hebrews 1:10 c. John 1:1).

 “in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

What is particularly significant here is that God created man in His own image and likeness. This does not refer to our bodily form, since God is spirit (John 4:24). Rather, it refers to His spiritual, natural and moral likeness. In his spiritual likeness, man, through regeneration, may have fellowship with God (Ephesians 2:1, 5). In his natural likeness, man has intellect, emotions, and the free will to know and commune with God. In his moral likeness, man may know and obey the precepts of God.

 Old Testament Hebrew employs four words to depict the work of God in creation. The first, bara, is used exclusively with God as the subject. Generally, this word means “to create or to bring into existence by divine command.” In our context, bara means to create something from nothing. God created both the universe (Genesis 1:1) and the human soul from nothing, “So God created, bara, man in His own image; in the image of God He created, bara, him; male and female He created, bara, them.” (Genesis 1:27). He simply spoke them into existence (Genesis 1:3). Theologians call this creatio ex nihilo. It is interesting to note here that when God creates a soul and breathes it into a human body, He creates that individual with a predetermined gender. Therefore, it is not the body that determines the gender of a person, but rather, the soul that God breathes into it.

The second term, asah, generally means “to make something according to a specified pattern.”  In addition to bara, God also uses asah to refer to the creation of man, but from a different perspective. In Genesis 1:26 God said, “Let Us make, asah, man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” Here God uses the verb, asah, to emphasise the fact, when God creates a human soul, He does so based on the pattern of His own invisible essence. As noted earlier, “in Our image,” refers to God’s natural and moral likeness.

 The third Hebrew word, yatsar, is used to depict the forming of something as a potter molds clay. This word is used to describe the forming of Adam’s body from the elements or “dust of the earth.” Genesis 2:7 says, “The LORD God formed, yatsar, man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

In contrast to yatsar, which described the creation of the body of the man, the fourth verb describing creation is, banah. It means to “build or to build up i. e. increase a structure from existing materials.” The inference from this verb is that, from the woman, God builds the female, through whom the human race is to be built up from, by God, through the male. Some illustrations of this usage can be seen in Genesis 16:2: “So Sarai said to Abram, ‘See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her, banah mimenah.’” Literally, the verse says, “I shall be built up from her.” Sarai devised a scheme where, through the bodies of Abraham and Hagar, she could have children. The problem with the plan, besides the fact that it involved adultery, was that God promised that Abraham would be built up through the body of Sarah, and that Sarah would be built up through the body of Abraham. See also Genesis 30:3 where she, yet once again, tried to be built up, banah, through, another woman, her handmaid, Bilhah.

In Amos 9:11 banah is used to refer to God building up the family of David: “On that day I will raise up the tabernacle (Monarchy) of David which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it, banah, literally, build it up, as in the days of old;” During the days of Amos, the Davidic dynasty had fallen into a degraded condition. Through the prophet, Amos, God declared that, at the Second Advent of Christ, He will re-establish the Davidic Kingdom on earth, where Jesus will rule in His resurrection body for 1,000 years.

Grace Cleansing

This is a story of hope, directed to all of us who, at some time or another, have failed, or maybe, at sometime in the future will. If you are perfect, exit stage right, this is not for you.

By Dennis Coulter

Please let me begin with this. If you have not sat and talked with our Lord, Jesus for a while, He misses you. He told me so (Revelation 3:20).


2nd Samuel 11-12: As the curtain opens, David, the King of Israel, is supposed to be on the battlefield with his men, but he is not. He is at home, idle and walking around on his rooftop.

That’s where he was when he saw Bathsheba bathing, naked, and in his lust, summoned her to his quarters. 

During the interlude that followed, he got her pregnant. Then, in his desperation, he brought her husband, Uriah, home, from the battlefield, and tried to get him to sleep with his wife, Bathsheba (no explanation needed here).

 

But being the honorable leader of men that Uriah was, he would not, not while his men were on the battlefield deprived of the pleasures of their women. So David had him strategically placed, during the next battle, in harm’s way, where he would be sure to be killed; and he was. So that is how David got Bathsheba. He seduced her in an act of adultery (they both were married) and then had one of his most noble officers, Uriah, murdered so he could have her free and clear. That’s when Nathan showed up. God sent him, Nathan, to get in David’s face. It’s all there in black and white.

There it is, in all its ugliness and disgusting horror. Their boy died and went to Paradise (2 Samuel 12:23). David understood how these things work. So once the boy was departed, he cleaned himself up and resumed his duties as King of Israel.

My, my, what a world we live in. And this is just a Sunday School Bible time story.


I told you all that as a prelude to the following:

I do not know of any passage in the Bible where we are told to ask God for forgiveness. I know that is not a mainstream “popular” notion, but when it comes to pleasing God, it’s the truth. God doesn’t want us to ask Him for forgiveness; He wants us to obey Him in the first place. But sometimes, we don’t.

So, how do we handle sin when we do mess up?

If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ, then this article is not for you. You need to deal with the issue of salvation.

I have dealt with the issue of salvation in my article: Reconciliation. It is published in seven parts and explains the details of your salvation thoroughly.

When we ask God for things, concrete or abstract, that’s a form of prayer, asking God for our heart’s desire.  But we don’t ask God for salvation. That’s a different issue.  In order to be saved, we don’t ask; we simply believe. The thing with God and salvation is this. What He wants from us is that we exercise our ability to choose. That capacity He instilled in us which makes us responsible (not a popular word these days) to Him. We have to make a freewill decision, a responsible choice to accept Him as God, and His Son as our Lord and Savior. And when we do, in response to that one act of humility, He blesses us with the gift of salvation. One doesn’t earn a gift. We merely extend our hand and accept it.

But what if you already are a believer and you sin. Then what? Well that is a problem, and that’s what we are here to talk about. What happens, when you, as believer, sins? The answer is simply this: you are removed from fellowship with God, and as a result, you lose the filling of t Holy Spirit.

What does it feel like, for us, as the believers, to be out of fellowship with God?

Walk with me a while, and let me paint a picture in your mind. You are in the privacy of your own home engaging, having fun with sin. Then, all of a sudden, you hear a knock at the door. What is your first thought; what emotion overwhelms you? You are suddenly filled with fear, anxiety and guilt. And those characters, as they sink their claws into you, are no fun to be around are they? How do they make you feel? Like crap, right? But what happened to the pleasure you were experiencing, when it was just you and indiscretion. What became of the joy, the ecstasy of the abandoned shackles of polite society? All the elation, the pleasure of  sin left you, didn’t it? Yes! It did, because sin is not your friend; he is a leach. And his purpose, his only goal is to suck the life out of you and steal your joy, the blessing that can only come from the filling of the Holy Spirit.

 

Now, someone’s at the door. What are you going to do? Find out who it is. Yes. Look through the peep hole to see who is. And who do you see, my Christian friend?  This is most awful; this is your worst nightmare, isn’t  it? It’s not Avon knocking at your door. It’s not a cute little Girl Scout peddling cookies. Nope, it’s Jesus! Jesus wants to come in and fellowship with you (Revelation 3:20). So you ask yourself, “What do I do?” And then, the answer comes to you, “Hide it.” And so you do. You try to hide your naked sin from God. So, how’s that working for you? He’s God! He already knows! And, what’s worse, you know He knows! So what are you going to do? The only thing that’s left, the only way out, is to just confess, come clean. You ever wonder what that expression means?

So you go to the door, and in a trembling voice you say, “Jesus, are you still there?” And He answers, “Yes, you know I will never leave you or forsake you.” Now, you can barely get the words out, “But Lord I’ve sinned.” And then He speaks the most gracious words you have ever heard, “I know. I only wanted to hear it, for you to come clean. Now that the air is clear, can you please open the door and let Me in. I’ve missed you.”

Did our poor Christian sinner ask our Lord for forgiveness? No! He did not. He merely accepted the invitation of our Lord to come in and be with him. By faith, out of obedience to God, he accepted Jesus on His Word and opened the door and fellowship was restored. (1 John 1:9; Psalm 51:1-3).

Now let’s go back and see how King David is doing:

Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
And cleanse me from my sin.For I acknowledge my transgressions,

Please note the conjunction, for, in David’s plea (I say plea, because he had just committed adultery and murder). The conjunction translated for in the Hebrew means because or for this reason. The reason God forgave David was not because he ask Him to; it was because he acknowledged his sin before God. Until Nathan confronted him, he was trying desperately to hide it (2 Samuel 12:1-15).


Spiritual Life

The wonder of spiritual life: that realm has always held the greatest fascination for me. It goes beyond the threshold of this world and into all the wonders of eternity.

Dennis Coulter

Looking Up

By Dennis Coulter

My dad took the family to a drive in theater. It was summer, and I was all dressed up in my Dr. Denims (you know, those PJ’s with the little feet built in). The movie was over my head, I was like, four, so I slipped out the back window of my Dad’s Olds 88. They didn’t think it was possible for me to escape since the window could only be rolled half-way down.

I was a curious child. Not evil or even defiant, really. I never meant to cause any one worry or harm.  It’s just that, from my perspective, I was thinking, “What the heck is going on out there? I want to see! Come on guys; open the door!” So, I just escaped. And, you know, what’s really funny is, this was not the first time. Oh no! I thought I had made it perfectly clear through previous escapades, “I do not take kindly to confined spaces.”

Well, my adventure through a labyrinth of parked cars, inevitably led me to a world of wonder. It was well lit by a sign (which at the time, I was sure was a signal from God), of course, I couldn’t read, remember, I was only four.  But I was drawn by the light. The lights, the treats, fountains of popcorn flowing from an endless source, and ice cream carried to me by an angel named, Flo. I was in heaven.

Well, it wasn’t long before the announcement came over that little speaker that hung precariously on the car window, “We have a little boy in the concession stand. His name is Dennis, and he’s wearing blue pajamas.” My parents didn’t even bother to turn and look into the back seat. They knew! When they burst into that place that I had discovered, and termed, “Paradise,” there I was, eating ice cream and hanging with all my new friends. I was having the time of my life.

Well, fifty-seven years later, not much has changed. I am still that same curious child, crawling around the ledges, looking over the edge of discovery, and asking, “What’s down there?” Ugh! Not much, down there. Guess what? I was looking in the wrong direction. I was looking down. Nothing there but dirt.

So, I looked up and,” Wow!” The blue expanse of heaven!  Having taken in the spectacle revealed from above, something wonderful, beyond description, passed before my eyes, and then, something from deep within my soul nudged me and said, “Do you see that?”

I said, “Yes Lord.”

It was not really a verbal expression, but more a visceral response. Looking up, not even allowing my eyes to meet His. I said, “We’re going up, right?”

He said. “Oh yeah!”

 

 


(3 of 3) How God Answers Prayer

By Dennis Coulter

There is an attack, a war really, that has been waged upon our country, our culture, our families and our children. This war is not in Iraq, but it originated there. The first stone was hurled by a woman; her name is Babylon (Revelation 17:3-6). Sorry ladies, but that’s the way it began. And men, none of this would have transpired had you/we simply turned and walked away from her enticements. But before anyone starts casting aspersions, I’m here to let you in on a little known secret. It’s not your fault. I could say it was Adam’s, but he was just the fall guy. Eve, she was merely a pawn. The enigmatic mind behind it all was a one of the three most powerful, beautiful and intelligent creatures that ever came from the hand of God: Lucifer. He is the declared enemy of God and the source of every abomination that plagues the earth. The following story contains, among other things, an illustration of one of Satan’s greatest masterpieces, false religion, and how it is continually at work to contaminate any form of culture and society, including ours.

 

At the end of this story, Elijah will offer a simple prayer. He will make a request of God and reveal the desire of his heart. Let’s begin!

 

1 Kings 16:29-18:40 The story, I’m going to tell you revolves around licentious greed and unbridled passion fuelled by a wayward king named Ahab and his queen, Jezebel, the personification of wickedness.

The date is around 875- 885 BC. Jezebel has imported to Samaria (the ten northern tribes of Israel) no less than 450 prophets of Baal-Melkart, the Phoenician god of Tyre and 400 more from the temples of Asherah, the goddess of fertility. Upon their arrival, she immediately ordered the execution of the prophets of Yahweh, the God of Israel. A mere 100 of them were saved by the hand of Obadiah, a man of God, who engineered their escape and hid God’s prophets in caves.

 

 

 

Without the opposition of Israel’s Prophets, Jezebel’s heathen priests went out openly into the streets and proclaimed the power of Baal and the graciousness of his consort, Asherah. The prophets placed their hook into their listeners by explaining to the audience the ways and rituals of the great goddess of fertility. They spoke in terms that would make the most experienced, battle hardened soldier blush.

 

 

 

As they enticed the men with their lurid descriptions, the priestesses of Asherah seductively moved through the crowd of astonished men, caressing their flesh and whispering alluring propositions into their ears. One by one, not just a few of the enamoured men, walked hand in hand with his sanctified harlot as she led him up to the secluded groves. There, each emissary of the goddess of love, for a price, would accept her partner’s offering of seed as a libation to the Queen of Heaven. However, for such an indulgence, there is an additional price to pay.

 

 

 

The priests of Asherah not only collected fees as payment for the services of her sacred women, there was also compensation to be made to Baal. However, his fees far exceeded simple libations of wine and gifts of gold. At times, he required the highest price of all. He demanded, in exchange for his “gracious” provisions, a portion of their children, their babies! And they complied! I know this is horror of the worst imaginable kind and beyond belief, but the records of the Mesopotamian scribes were etched in stone and clay tablets that survive with us until today. What is more, so do the skeletons of babies uncovered by modern archaeologists next to the heathen temples of Baal. This abominable practice was documented in the Bible and strictly forbidden (Leviticus 18:21) at the pain of death. (Leviticus 20:1). This practice was also strictly forbidden by the prophets (Jeremiah 7:30-31; Ezekiel 16:20-21; 23:37-39). As the Scriptures show, Israel paid the ultimate price for indulging in these despicable rituals. Of course, The Phoenicians were not the only heathen culture who enticed God’s chosen people with this murderous ritual. There were numerous other cultures with other names and different languages who also fornicated to the screams of their burning children. But our story is not spun around them, but the people with whom our hero, Elijah, had to deal.

 

 Because of the events described in the previous paragraph, God told Elijah to confront King Ahab. So, out of the blue, Elijah appears before Ahab, walks up to him, looks him dead in the eye and hurls these words, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1). And as he walked out, he was probably thinking, “and good luck trying to find me!” because he went into hiding and did not return for three and one-half years (James 5:17). When he did reemerge on the scene, he found the people ravaged by famine. Ahab was still unreformed. And Jezebel, with her prophets in train, was still unabashedly leading the people in their perverted heathen rituals.

 

Now Elijah is really steamed, brimming with righteous indignation! Please allow me to paraphrase just a bit: Elijah confronts Ahab a second time, but Ahab goes after him first, calling him a “troublemaker.” But Elijah comes right back. “I don’t think so! You have offended God Almighty, and He’s had it with you, sir! So I’m calling you out! The God of Abraham against you and your 850 demon possessed shamans! Mt. Carmel; be there! I’ll bring the bulls!”

 

So, all of Israel was gathered for the event. The prophets of Baal went first. They placed a sacrificial bull on the altar. Then they proceeded to pray. They cried out to their god in heaven, they danced, they leaped, and all the while Elijah mocked them and their god. At this, they began to slice their bodies with knives until the blood streamed down their chests and arms and legs. This went on until the time of the evening offering. Baal didn’t show.

 

Now it was Elijah’s turn, so he prayed: “Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.” Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!(1 Kings 18:37-39).

Conclusion:

God answered Elijah’s request by consuming the sacrifice, and He gave him the desire of his heart when Israel returned to their true God.

Jesus and the thief:

My favorite illustration of this category of prayer is the exchange that transpired between Jesus and the thief on the Cross: “Then he  (the thief) said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:42-44).

Can anyone tell me just exactly what that thief did to deserve to go to heaven? It was a rhetorical question. He did nothing. He lived a worthless life of crime and debauchery and deserved to die on a cross. He even admitted it before the crowd. He did nothing, but accept Jesus as Messiah, his Lord and the promised Savior “ by faith apart from works” (see Ephesians 2:8-9).

The Fourth and final category of prayer we will study is fairly straight foreword: request-no; desire-no.

If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear (Psalm 66:18).

Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard (Proverbs 21:13).

A Word to Husbands:

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered (1 Peter 3:7).

Surely God will not listen to empty talk, nor will the Almighty regard it (Job 35:13).

 

The Bible says that “Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive“(Matthew. 21:22). The power in this promise is a true heart in full assurance of faith. The key is to make sure that the desire behind your request is a divine viewpoint desire.

 

I pray this series was helpful.

 

Thank you,

 

Dennis

 

(2 of 3) How God Answers Prayer

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By Dennis Coulter

Once upon a time, or as one of my fourth grade students once said, “Once a pound of time,” Zeus ordered Hephaestus (Aphrodite’s husband) to make him a daughter. It was the first woman made out of clay. He named her Pandora.

Then Zeus sent his new daughter, Pandora, down to earth. But before she left, he gave her a little box with a big heavy lock on it. While she was preparing to depart, Zeus approached her and gave her a rather enigmatic request. He made her promise, and I quote, “Never open this box.”  Then he gave the key to Pandora’s husband and said to him, “Never allow anyone to open this box.”

Pandora, what a wonder she was, marvelous and intriguing and yet there is a rub, a fatal flaw if you will. There was something about her.  She was not your every day compliant housewife (if there ever was one).  Oh no.  She was a tempest, inquisitive, daring and unafraid to enter into territories until then, unexplored.  Doesn’t the thought of such a woman just make your insides tingle just a little? Come on, you know what I’m talking about. This girl had an itch. I mean, she was beyond curious. And, you know what she wanted. She wanted to see what was inside that box! So, here we go. One day, when her husband was sleeping, Pandora stole the key and opened that box.

As she gently lifted the lid, the box exploded; it virtually came to life.