If the Lord, He is God…

The Lord, He is God!

Image result for elijah and baal

I woke up this morning, as I often due, with a sense that God has been speaking with me. I find it is normally in between the time of being asleep to waking up. Now, I am not claiming that I am a source of revelation from God but stating how the thoughts that I have start.

What were those thoughts?

If God is not real then why bother with morality at all? But if God is real then judgement is coming and I have to answer for everything I have done.

This is not a mighty revelation, at all. I am a Christian and therefore I believe in God and in Him sending a Saviour, Jesus Christ. However, it seems that I want to live with my feet in both camps. The world has its allures…after all why do we work? Do we only go to work because we need to buy food and pay the rent/mortgage? Or do we work so that we can gain pleasures, enjoy our food choices, clothes, holidays, clubbing, etc, etc, for example?

I am reminded of a passage of Scripture with a little context:

We are with Elijah on the mountain when he asked the people, whom will you serve? Baal or YHWH? We pick it up in:

1 Kings 18:38–39 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. 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!” (NKJV)

This sudden realisation that God, who is Almighty and awesome in power, could easily destroy them changed them radically: The Lord, He is God!

It is this realisation this morning of who God is, and I am a Pastor, that “The Lord, He is God!” awoke me, literally, wondering just how worthy I am of His judgement against me.

Choice

I, we, have a choice, we can serve the god of this world by using our time and effort for worldly things or we can use those same gifts and talents to serve our God.

If God does not exist then let us live for pleasure. There is no room for morality if there is no God. We live for ourselves and that’s that. We do not need a reason or give an excuse if there is no God. Who is going to dish out justice against us? Perhaps, only if we go against the laws of our own land for the sake of preservation we would keep them.

We have to decide, even as Christians, it is a daily battle. If God is real then we have to give an account to Him. Will we be able to cope with His judgement?

Which God/god do we serve?

 

Why is the Bible so important? Part 1

Why is the Bible so important? Part 1

Interesting question as it actually has many answers.

I suppose it has to do with authority. By authority I mean, what is it that informs what we believe and why we believe it? Some rely upon tradition, others on feelings, others on what someone has told them, and still others rely upon their rational. All these are based somewhat upon upbringing, culture, natural demeanour and a host of other internal and external affects. And all of these are different for different people, a fact recognised in our post-modern world. Forgive the word ‘fact’ and ‘post-modern’ in the same sentence! Because it is our post-modern society that says there are no facts, no grand narrative, no one authority. This makes it convenient to believe whatever we believe with no justification necessary as you believe what you will believe and I will believe what I believe and both can live in unison despite its tensions and often diametrically opposed truths.
There is one authority, though, that has not changed, is neither ancient, modern nor post-modern but is present no matter what the era. And that is the Bible. The Bible speaks down through the ages to every people, culture and language. The Bible is its own authority. It speaks the truth. It is the Word of God. It is what God is saying.

Open Bible
Open Bible

Some say that the Bible contains the Word of God meaning that somewhere in its pages are words that can pertain to God but other pages where it does not. When I say the Bible contains the Word of God I mean from cover to cover every Word is given by God and is from God. This makes the decision about what is my authority very easy: it is the Bible. For those who think that only part of it should be our authority then pickers will be choosers. Who is to say what part is and what part is not? For those who choose which parts are and what parts are not have actually made themselves the authority. Some make it sound very spiritual and say that it is Jesus who is their authority. If this is the case then they would know that Jesus Himself made Scripture totally authoritative.

It is clear we either take the whole of the Bible with its difficulties that should not be glossed over or we take none of it. The only way we know what we believe and why is because God has revealed it to us through human writers sometimes through dictation (Thus says the Lord…) or, as usually was the case, using the writer’s humanity but without error.

This is called plenary inspiration, the view that all Scripture (the Bible) is inspired by God and thus is without any inaccuracy, mistake, fault or error.  2 Timothy 3:16–17 (NKJV) — 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

[Glossary: ‘plenary’ means ‘full and complete’]

If it is found to have inaccuracies, mistakes, faults or errors then we have nothing to rely upon for truth. Jesus regarded Scripture to be authentic even in those parts that are hard to believe like Jonah. And who am I or you to argue with the Author of our Salvation?!

[A more in depth article will be written in due course]

Work – Is it Christian?

A Theology of Work

– (which is also a work in progress!)

Is it hard to get up on a Monday morning?  Actually, is it hard to get up ANY morning!?  Is it just time to hit that snooze button over and over again?!

What is our usual response to going to work?  Or to College?  Or even working from or at home?  After all, almost all of us have homework to do as well.  And what has any of this to do with being a Christian?  I mean, doing work is normal, can be mundane, just a basic part of life.

I want to show you that work is actually a Christian thing to do. When we think about being a Christian at work or college, what is our first thought?  Is it not that it is about witnessing to our colleagues or about having a Bible Study or playing Christian music or being part of theChristian Union.   But what about our actual work?  We are actually fulfilling God’s design when we do our jobs well – no matter what our job is.  Most of us think of work, or going to college to get qualifications so that we can go to work, is about earning a salary, supporting our families, being comfortable or even working for work’s sake – it is a necessary evil for those who are not called into Christian Ministry full-time.

Things have changed a little in terminology – we used to call work our vocation – which interestingly means our calling.  It is true that God definitely calls people into certain things but we may be surprised to know that for a Christian work is also a calling.  Are we not all seeking to do the will of God?

Bear in mind that these verses are a little out of context but it is definitely transferable to work: the first is 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NKJV) 31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. And the second is: Romans 11:36 (NKJV) 36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever.

No matter how you put it God is to be glorified in everything we do whether as we have read it is about eating, drinking or everything else and that includes work.

Genesis 2:7–9, 15 (NKJV) 7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. 8 The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

What do we notice about these verses?  I said earlier that work seems like a necessary evil but hang on, what have we read?  God created man and then He put him in the garden to, what? To work!  I don’t know what your idea of Heaven is – but if work is not it then you may have to consider something else!  God’s good and wholesome plan was to give us work to do – notice that this is BEFORE the fall!  BEFORE man sinned!  BEFORE God cursed the ground.  Workis good! Work did not happen because of sin – it was before it.  We were created to work.  And then, of course to have rulership over the whole earth:

Genesis 1:27–28 (NKJV) 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

God expects us to work; making order out of chaos which mirrors God’s creation. This cannot be done without work.  Remember that God works too.  Jesus worked doing the works of His father (John 9.4).

So work was God’s design from the beginning. And the ultimate goal was for every aspect of life and culture to be saturated with the beauty and glory and love of God.

Then things changed: when sin entered the picture, work was cursed.  Genesis 3:17–19 (NKJV)

17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:

“Cursed is the ground for your sake;

In toil you shall eat of it

All the days of your life.

18    Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,

And you shall eat the herb of the field.

19    In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread

Till you return to the ground,

For out of it you were taken;

For dust you are,

And to dust you shall return.”

Work

Because of Adam, because of sin, suddenly work that was a joy became hard. Work involves sweat and toil and thorns and thistles otherwise known today as stress, overtime, boredom, and managers giving us a hard time.  Work has been cursed. But work is still good. It is still part of God’s purpose.

Today, God calls us to redeem the time.  Work is to be redeemed.  Work is a calling, a vocation, a chance for God to be glorified. Colossians 3:17 (NKJV) 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Now when we go to work, stay home to work, go to college we are there for a greater purpose, we are there for the glory of God. God wants to be honoured in what we do and in how we do it.

 

What are some ways that God can be glorified in our work?

  1. God is glorified when we put our whole selves into our work, with a view toward pleasing God, not men.  Not in pretending to work. Colossians 3:23–24 (NKJV) 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
  2. God is glorified when we honour our managers and submit to their authority (1Timothy 6:1; Romans 13:7)
  3. God is glorified when we avoid complaining or grumbling, even in less-than ideal worksituations. Philippians 2:14–15 (NKJV) 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing,15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.
  4. Ecclesiastes 5:10–12 (NKJV) 10He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; Nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity. 11        When goods increase, They increase who eat them;  So what profit have the owners Except to see them with their eyes?12  The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, Whether he eats little or much; But the abundance of the rich will not permit him to sleep.
  5. God is glorified when we plan diligently for the future Proverbs 21:5 (NKJV) 5The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.

In all these ways and many more, we can do our work to the glory of God.

Another reason for work is indeed to provide for others: Ephesians 4:28 (NKJV) 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labour, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. In 1 Tim 5.8 it says that one that doesn’t provide for his family is worse than an infidel.

So, when we get up tomorrow…let us be thankful that we can work

  1. Work hard. Let’s go to work tomorrow or do our absolute best. Be the best employee, the best manager, the best we can be. Be known as the most honest, most humble, most ethical, most competent person in your field. Do all this to advance God’s name.
  2. Work is a calling.  Work is affected by the fall. It can be hard graft and thankless sometimes.  Just because work is a calling it doesn’t mean it is going to be perfect and work out right every time.
  3. Work is a calling – but we are also called to rest.  Whilst the 4th commandment is the one Christians generally say have no correlation in the New Testament the principle is good.  Its principle is actually found in the Creation story of 6 days work, 1 of rest.  Make sure we get a day off.  Make sure we rest.

Whether we are in so-called Christian ministry or we are in a secular job. Christian leaders are expected to labour hard in the Word and Prayer.  The rest of us simply have to labour hard in the work God has given each of us to do.  Whether we are working in the Church or we are working in our homes or we are working in our jobs or we are working in our colleges this is allChristian ministry.

Every day is an opportunity to live out God’s purpose for us in the world, to be the image of God to those whom we meet, helping people see God’s glory in us.

Colossians 3:23–24 (NKJV) 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

About SoundDoctrine.co.uk

So, what’s all this about?

There are various reasons for blogging:

  1. As Pastor I have wanted my own church (Ely Baptist Church, Cardiff) to geta good grounding in Scripture.  We have used Acts 2.42 (NKJV) ‘And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.’  as our motto.  I believe that this should also be the motto of every Christian, so…
  2. I am aware that there are millions of Christians that do not have a solid foundation other than the faith they have found in Jesus Christ.  It is time to build upon that foundation!  This site hopes to be the catalyst for Christians to gain understanding and knowledge and wisdom.
  3. I am also concerned about the state of theology and doctrine in the UK and USA.  I want to defend the faith and teach others to do so too.  There are various Scriptures which seem relevant: 2 Timothy 4:3 (NKJV) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers.’ and Titus 2:1 (NKJV) ‘But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine.’
  4. I also want to address contemporary issues whether a TV Programme, news item, Website etc – this gives me the freedom to add whatever I want but with the proviso of it being a Christian response!!!

So, this is not quite the dumping ground of all my thoughts…not quite…

 

Whirling Thoughts

Well, they have to go somewhere!

 

I hope to set out the following:

Engage with Scripture

Engage with doctrine

Engage with the world

Going Through the Bible

Systematic Doctrine

Apologetics, giving an answer

Because I am already in the process of putting together a Systematic Theology to teach, this forum is where I will gradually add quotes from various theologians, pastors, etc.  Each topic will be dealt with in Bite-Size Theology videos and two types of papers: an Overview of a Topic and an In-Depth Study.  Each paper will have life-questions so that we can relate theology and doctrine to the real world.

I am also open to other authors adding to this blog if you have a reasonably academic and biblical approach to a subject.

I don’t like labels concerning where I stand theologically because they are too constraining.  There is not one system that is wholly biblical or wholly true.  There are issues with all of them!  I am, in part, Reformed and Arminian(!), Evangelical and Liberal.  However: The Bible is my ultimate authority in all doctrine and theology, not just in faith and practice but in allsuch things that it speaks of.  And there will be more on that later…(on another page!)

Because no system, including my own, will be wholly biblical or wholly true, for to err is human, it is quite obvious that none of us know everything and there should be no doubt that Ihave got some things wrong.  There is no room for intellectual pride for what we have has been given by God – and the thing with pride is that it leads to a ….

This is not the same as some of my post-modern friends would think.  There is objective truth and it is unchanging no matter whose viewpoint it is.  And there will be more on this in another post too!

There are ways that you can support this endeavour whether in authoring an article or with a donation.  Just follow the links.

And, Welcome to this Site!

Rev. Ian Thomas