We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident

Posted by on Jul 2, 2014 in Current Events and Commentary | 0 comments

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

400572_10152022438671999_91101877_nThese very familiar and wonderful words in our American Declaration of Independence seem almost divinely inspired. They recognize first of all that it is “self-evident” that there is a “Creator” and that “all men are created” by Him—despite the skepticism of atheists, secularists, and evolutionists. And then appears that most felicitous phrase—“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Now, although Thomas Jefferson and his colleagues who prepared and approved this Declaration (our founding fathers) may have been thinking mainly of physical life, political liberty, and worldly happiness, the phrase surely also could and should include spiritual life, liberty, and happiness as well. Otherwise it could hardly be true that all men are created equal in seeking them. There have been millions through the centuries who have experienced very little earthly freedom and happiness in their physical lives, and they surely did not have equal opportunities to search for them. Many people—particularly children who died in infancy (or were aborted before infancy)—never even enjoyed real physical life.

As far as spiritual life is concerned, on the other hand, it is true that Jesus Christ is “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world” and that “in Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:9, 4). The Bible assures us that all are indeed created equal in this respect, for “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). All who search sincerely for true spiritual life will indeed find it, for He said that “he who seeks finds” (Luke 11:10), and He also said that “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Therefore, “he who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:12).

With reference to spiritual liberty, Christ is also the answer to that search. Spiritual liberty, of course, is liberty from the penalty of sin at God’s coming judgment, freedom from the power of sin in this present life, and eventual freedom from the very presence of sin in heaven and in the ages to come. “If you abide in my word,” Jesus said, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. . . . Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:31-32, 36). Thus, true life and true liberty are found in Christ—and only in Christ.

What about the pursuit of happiness? Christians often have suffered because of their faith in Christ, but Peter says: “If you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed,” and “if you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you” (1 Peter 3:14; 4:14).

There is much more to Christian happiness, of course, than just being able to “rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings” anticipating the time “when His glory is revealed” and we can then “also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:13). Consider a few of the many promises of happiness in living for Christ day by day.

We are happy just because we know that the mighty God of all creation is our God—our heavenly Father. “Happy is he…whose hope is in the LORD his God: Who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps truth forever” (Psalm 146:5-6).

We also ought to be wonderfully happy just because we live in a land founded on faith in that God and His Word. “Happy are the people who are in such a state; happy are the people whose God is the LORD” (Psalm 144:15).

If one would indeed pursue happiness, he should surely be able to find it here in the United States, if anywhere. Our very Declaration of Independence begins and ends with a devout recognition of this great God of the universe. The opening sentence refers to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” and its last sentence expresses “reliance on the protection of divine Providence.”

It is true that some of the signers of the Declaration were deists or Unitarians rather than evangelical Christians. But even those men all believed in God as Creator, in the general authority of the Bible, and in the moral and ethical perfections of the teachings of Jesus Christ. They were all profound thinkers and courageous leaders, 56 men altogether, representing all 13 of the original colonies.

It is significant that all were at least nominal believers in the God of the Bible and in His supernatural creation of all things in the beginning, and in Jesus Christ as the chief Founder of our nation’s religion. None were atheists or Muslims or Buddhists or from any other non-Christian religion, and the same was true of the body of distinguished men who several years later formulated our national Constitution. It is understandable why God has signally blessed our nation. Indeed, “happy are the people whose God is the LORD.”

There are also a number of other more individualized biblical criteria for true happiness. For example, the attainment of true wisdom will result in true happiness. “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding….[Wisdom] is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her” (Proverbs 3:13, 18).

And how does one start to find true wisdom? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). True wisdom, of course, must be based upon true knowledge—that is, true science—so how does one go about acquiring true knowledge? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). Furthermore, it is in Christ Himself (who created and upholds all things) that “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”
(Colossians 2:3).

True happiness is also found in obeying God’s commandments. “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law” (Proverbs 29:18). As Paul said,“We know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully” (1 Timothy 1:8). “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” (Psalm 19:8).

After all, He is our Creator, and He would only establish laws concerning our behavior that would contribute to our happiness if we conform to them.

Another great blessing of God was the establishment of the family as the basic unit of human society. “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh;’ …Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:6-9). To that first male and female He created, God also gave His first command: “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).

Father, mother, and children—the family! “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them” (Psalm 127:3-5).

Happiness is also a byproduct of a clear conscience. “Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves” (Romans 14:22). Those who patiently endure affliction and suffering, especially if these arise because of faithfulness to God, can actually find happiness in suffering. “My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure” (James 5:10-11).

Finally, the Lord Jesus Himself, after an act of true humility and service, said: “For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you….If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:15, 17).

Christ even suffered and died for us, “leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21), and this brought Him true happiness and joy. “Therefore…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).

As we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, we need to remember with great thanksgiving those godly men who, as they signed the Declaration, realized that doing so meant that they must “pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” It did indeed, before the War for Independence was finally won, cost many of them their fortunes and several their lives, but not their sacred honor. They secured for us the happiness of living in the most blessed nation in the history of the world, and we honor them for such a legacy.

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Who is Messiah?

Posted by on Jun 24, 2014 in Devotionals | 0 comments

whoisthemessiahheaderWhen it comes down to understanding God, the Bible, and how to be saved or have eternal life, or be in heaven forever – the issue is the MESSIAH! The Bible warns us that there will be many who say they are the Messiah, and they will deceive many people. There are many beliefs among the religions of the world as to the true identity of the Messiah. It can be very confusing. We have chosen to focus on what the Bible teaches on this matter.

The Gospel of John (in the Bible) records several miracles that Jesus did. In John 20:30-31, we read these important words about the Messiah:

“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.”

Peter (one of the disciples of Jesus) said in Acts 4:12:

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Salvation is not the result of attending a church, synagogue, or mosque – or trying to be a good person. According to the Bible, salvation is found by believing that Jesus is the Messiah and the only One Who can save us from sin, death, and hell. The Hebrew prophet Isaiah quotes the Messiah in Isaiah 45:22-23:

“Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongues shall swear.”

These verses are quoted in the New Testament in Philippians 2:9-11:

“Wherefore God (the heavenly Father) also hath highly exalted Him (Jesus), and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus the Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

As you can clearly see, it is God’s purpose and plan to exalt His Son, our Savior, and that all should acknowledge that Jesus the Messiah is Lord!

The Bible presents in great detail the genealogy of the Messiah. After the global flood, Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, begin to repopulate the earth. His son, Shem (which means “name”), becomes the one through whom the Messiah will come. This line of Shem leads us to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob’s name was changed to “ISRAEL” and his fourth son by his wife, Leah, is named “JUDAH” and is the Jewish tribe through whom the Messiah will come (Genesis 49:10). The line of Judah brings us to a man named “Jesse” (Isaiah 11:1) and to his son “DAVID.” To this young shepherd, God promised a descendant who would bless the entire world. It was his son, Solomon, who built the Jewish Temple (destroyed by Babylon in 586 BC). His line was the royal line of Jewish kings that would bring us the Messiah. One of his future descendants was Joseph, the one who would marry a young Jewish virgin named “Miryam” (Mary) who became pregnant before he could marry her. The Bible teaches that the Messiah would be born from a virgin’s womb (Psalm 132:11; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23), and it even names the place where the Messiah would be born – Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1-6).

There is a fascinating prophecy in Malachi 3:1:

“Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me; and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, Whom ye delight in: behold, He shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.”

Malachi writes AFTER the destruction of the Temple of Solomon by Babylon in 586 BC, so this prophecy cannot refer to that temple. Also, there has been no temple since 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the Second Temple (built and restored by Herod the Great). The only time that the above passage could have been fulfilled was the time the Second Temple was still standing! The first “messenger” of Malachi 3:1 who will prepare the way of the Lord was John the Baptist. The second “Messenger of the covenant” is the Messiah Himself!

The Messiah would come into this world (the first time) to suffer and die for the sins of all humanity (Isaiah 53). The Bible teaches very clearly that Jesus not only died on that Roman cross for our sins, but that He arose from the dead on the third day after He died. Talk about incredible news! The Messiah is NOT dead – HE IS ALIVE!

After ascending back to heaven (Acts 1:9-11), He promised that He would come again (John 14:1-6). He is the hope of the entire world!

Here’s the problem: It is not enough to know these Biblical facts; according to the Bible, we must put our faith and trust in the Messiah Himself as our only hope of salvation and eternal life. Romans 10:13 says:

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Romans 10:17 adds:

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”

Our faith is in the words of the Bible about the true identity of the Messiah. We encourage you to take out a moment of your time right now, and call upon the only One Who can save you! As we confess and repent of our sins, and believe that Jesus died and paid for our sins, and rose again from the dead, putting our trust and faith in Him alone, the Bible assures us that we will be saved!

(Editor’s Note: If you would like a more complete discussion of the true identity of the Messiah, simply call us at 1-800-75-BIBLE and ask for a free booklet entitled “WHO IS THE MESSIAH?”)

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