Jesus Is God’s Full Deity

November 21, 2017

Friends,
Last Thursday while I was witnessing downtown, a black woman came up to me to ask me some questions. She was a small, sweet, grandma-type, and one thing she asked was how she could know that she was interpreting the Scriptures correctly. She mentioned that she watched a lot of preaching on T.V., but she clarified that she meant concerning when she would also read on her own.

I began to answer by talking about how the Holy Spirit, who is God’s Spirit and Jesus’ Spirit (John 14:17,20,23) and who is in the Word (1:1-4,14 & 6:63) explains Scripture’s teaching to us. (14:26) She looked confused and I wondered if I should warn her that ingesting the doctrine of (most) T.V. preachers can cloud our minds with confusion so as to disable us from understanding the clear words of God; but I refrained in case she was unready to hear that.

Somehow though, Ruby (not her real name) diverted my explanation about how to interpret correctly to what she thought was alarming regarding what I said about the Holy Spirit. “Jesus is the Father’s Son,” she said. “He’s not God.”

“He is God’s only begotten Son,” I responded. “But that is in regards to Him being born as a human. Jesus is fully God and the fullness of God.” (Col. 2:9 says, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form”, but I didn’t get a chance to quote this. Nor did I get a chance to quote Col. 1:15,16 which says that Jesus is the image of the invisible God and that by Him all things were created.)

“Well, He is God with a small ‘g’,” Ruby argued.

I told her that no, Jesus is Himself the One God Most High, and that Isa. 9:6 says that the Son will be called “Everlasting Father”; but I only got halfway through a sentence on this.

Ruby was getting agitated. “Are you saying that when Jesus rose from the grave, He resurrected Himself?!”

I was trying not to agitate Ruby but I had to say yes. (I could have read John 2:18-22 & 11:25 and Rev. 1:17,18 to her for starters.)

“Oh no!” Ruby countered. “The Father resurrected Him.”

Just then another person came up and asked me a question. I tried to answer Ruby first, but off she walked in a huff. I felt really bad for her.

And I feel bad for all the people who have this issue confused.

Let’s go back to the Old Testament. Besides Isa. 9:6 there are many other verses that reveal that Jesus is the LORD / Yahweh / YHWH / YHVH. One is Isa. 45:5 where the LORD says, “Apart from Me there is no God.” So the only other gods there are, are false gods, even demons. (Dt. 32:16,17) In Isa. 45:21 the LORD says, “And there is no God apart from Me, a righteous God and a Savior, there is none but Me.” In Isa. 43:10,11 we read the LORD declaring, “Before Me no god was formed, nor will there be one after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from Me there is no savior.”

The LORD is stating very clearly that He is the only true God and the only true Savior. Therefore, since Jesus declares this of Himself (John 3:13-18 & 8:58 // Rev. 1:8 & 22:12-16)… since Scripture declares this of Jesus (John 1:1-4,14 // 1 Tim. 2:3-6 // 1 John 5:20)… then Jesus is Yahweh. And Yahweh is the Father, the LORD God Creator (Gen. 2:1-9 // Ex. 20:11), the Spirit who created all things (Gen. 1:1,2 // Ps. 104:30) –He who created all things through Jesus (Heb. 1:2) who is the image of (the bodily form of) and the exact representation of Yahweh. (v. 3) Yes, Jesus is the bodily form of the Father and it is Him, the LORD / Yahweh, who physically ate with, spoke with, and stood with Abraham. (Gen. ch. 18) It is Jesus who Isaiah saw and with whom he spoke. As Isaiah says in Isa. 6:1, “…I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted…” and in verse 5 Isaiah cries, “Woe to me! …my eyes have seen the King, the LORD [Yahweh] Almighty.” John 12:41 confirms for us that He who sat in glory on His throne, whom Isaiah saw and spoke with, was Jesus.

I could go on (like with Mark 12:29 and Eph. 4:4-6 and others), but I encourage everyone to study and grasp who Jesus really is. Jesus says in John 8:24, “If you do not believe that I AM, you will indeed die in your sins.” We do not want to be confused and close-minded like Ruby. We need to know who Jesus is and get to know Him well (which comes through trust in and obedience to the Truth / Him), for Jesus taught that Eternal Life is contingent upon this intimacy. (John 8:31-36 & 17:3) Jesus is fully God, the full image of God, the full and exact representation of God’s whole Deity. Jesus is the only Savior and the only God, always and forever, and this we must believe and take hold of unwaveringly.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Advertisements

Our 30th Anniversary Trip

November 8, 2017

Friends,
This last weekend, to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary, my husband and I flew to Arizona to see the beautiful cliffs and mountains of the Coconino National Forest and of Grand Canyon. We had a great time and thanked the Lord for the opportunity (as well as His help in our mile and a half uphill hike to Sterling Pass!). I also thank the Lord for my husband’s commitment to me, all his help in my ministries, and the Lord’s commitment in protecting us, providing for us, and leading us all these years. Here are some photos we took of our anniversary trip:

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

The Way To Be Known By God

October 28, 2017

Friends,
1 Cor. 8:3 says, “But the man who loves God is known by God.” This is quite a thought-provoking verse, is it not? And doesn’t it encapsulate a major theology concerning our salvation since we know we must love God and be known by God in order to be saved? (Mt. 22:37,38 w/19:17 // Luke 13:27 // John 10:27,28)

Let’s ask ourselves, “Am I known by God / by Christ?” –Known as a friend and member of His family? Jesus has told us that this position (being His friend and family) comes by doing what He commands (John 15:14) and doing His will consistently. (Mt. 12:50 // Rom. 8:9) We must heed the Lord’s voice and follow Him in order to be known by Him and inherit eternal life. (John 10:27,28) A mere claim of relationship with Him, lacking in obedience, does not save. (1 John 2:3-6) Salvation comes by doing what is good (3 John 1:11) –which means rejecting sin by the power of the Spirit (Rom. 8:13) and being led by the Spirit. (v. 14)

We know that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” (Heb. 11:6) But is faith synonymous with belief? It’s not, for the demons believe. (Ja. 2:19) Faith in Jesus is belief, trust, love, and obedience combined. These cannot be separated if we want to keep accessing God’s grace. (John 15:10 // Rom. 5:1,2 // Eph. 3:12 // 1 John 2:28) There may be other sub-ingredients to faith, but we cannot lack these main four or we are not saved.

Let’s look at what Jesus said to the “woman who had lived a sinful life” (Luke 7:37) after she wept and kissed Jesus’ feet while pouring perfume on his feet. He said, “Your sins are forgiven.” (v. 48) And, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (v. 50)

Did the woman ask Jesus to forgive and save her? Maybe, but we’re not told that she did. Therefore, we can see that the Word of God is emphasizing the actions of the woman, and we can see that Jesus equates her actions as being her faith. (Luke 7:50) He emphasizes her works toward Him (v. 44-46) and says that these were motivated by her great love. (v. 47) These love-motivated works of her faith, the passage shows us, is what brought about God’s forgiveness toward her (v. 48) and her salvation and peace with God. (v. 50)

So “the man who loves God is known by God.” (1 Cor. 8:3) The person who loves the Lord will make that love obvious. Love for God will be exhibited, displayed, and proven, not just by words, but by actions, for faith is not complete without actions. (Ja. 2:17,22) And these actions will be works of righteousness done in obedience to Christ’s commands. (John 14:15,21,23)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
I had another exciting afternoon yesterday evangelizing at the train and bus stops downtown. One sweet girl I’d met a few months ago came up to me smiling, I recognized her and remembered her name (for I’d been praying for her), and we had a lovely conversation about the Lord and what He’s done for her lately. She is in college to be a nurse and maybe some of my readers will pray for her to walk in the Word always and for God’s favor to rest on her life..? Here is the photo she took of us yesterday and sent to me and she gave me permission to post it:

In the morning I had texted several prayer partners to be praying for me and one was a young woman (I’ll call her Jess here) who I’d met down there years ago. I said if she saw me from the train it’d be great if she got off and would come over to chat. She did show up after her work and I gave her a thank you card I’d written that morning along with a necklace and bracelet I’d made –to let her know how much I appreciate her faithful response to always pray for me when I ask. Truly, I could never do my evangelizing without prayer backing!!!

While Jess and I were talking, a young man who had hung around me for a while a couple of hours earlier came over to me again and asked some more questions. He kept saying he agreed with my answers but he also had some strange ideas. Jess and I prayed with him to know and walk in the Truth and he appreciated it. May some of my readers pray for him too.

While Jess and I were about to say good-bye, a guy (I’ll call him Evan here) showed up next to us who I’ve spoken with many times over the years and who was an evangelist for a while himself until he and his other evangelist friend (a guy I’d witnessed to long before I met Evan) both turned into Calvinists. Though I greeted him warmly, I also right away said, “Evan is a Calvinist and he and I do not agree theologically.”

Well, I had a wonderful surprise, because instead of Evan immediately launching into his typical persuasion attempts, he admitted that he wasn’t really into Calvinism as much now and that God had severely disciplined him so that he was humbled, seeking to make things right with God and others, and was seeking to walk in righteousness. “I was a hearer of the Word,” he said, “but not a doer. And I certainly was in the vomit.” As I listened to him and watched his face and demeanor, I realized he really has changed! This is big to me, because I had prayed a lot, in great sadness, for Evan and our other evangelist friend –that God would open their eyes to the Truth and turn them back from the sin and apathy they were marching further into due to their Calvinistic beliefs –beliefs that were helping them think they were eternally safe to sin and the belief that since everyone was already elected by God from eternity past to Life or Damnation, then evangelism was really a pointless task.

“Wow, the Lord has been answering my prayers,” I thought to myself and I breathed a grateful prayer for it and have thanked God several times since. May He continue to bring Evan and our mutual evangelist friend back from the Calvinist Falsehood, from sinfulness and disobedience, and get them back serving God and spreading the Truth!

Jess and I said good-bye to Evan and then to each other, but I went home yesterday with a renewed conviction: That the Lord works through our obedient efforts even when we don’t know He is doing so. It’s encouraging to get glimpses into His workings, but regardless of whether we see results or not, we can trust God that He is using our prayers and evangelism, and we can thus keep on in faith and vigor doing what He has called us to do.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
It is unfortunate that some church groups promote beliefs that focus more on physical Israel and the Hebrew language than they do on Jesus, on the Good News of redemption, and on our responsibility before God in “going into all the world to teach people to obey all of our Lord’s commands.” (See Mt. 28:19,20)

Belief systems that have a misplaced focus are not pleasing to God, and Gentile Christians who claim to be Jews are believing strange and unbiblical doctrines (to put it mildly). What does Jesus say about it? He says to the church in Rev. 3:9, “I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars, –I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.”

Jesus gave another similar warning in Rev. 2:9: “I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” (These are certainly strong words!)

If a Gentile church claims they are Jews and claims they are all going to live in the land of Israel –well, how could these Revelation verses not be about them? The Black Hebrew Roots groups, which are quite hostile, –well, it could be about them; but I’d strongly suggest that no-one insist they are a Jew when they’re not. It seems that Jesus is calling any such person a liar, and Rev. 21:8 says that “all liars will be assigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”

But, people rationalize and give their reasons… though I believe it is a very dangerous chance they are taking…

I’ve studied and written quite extensively about the Israel issue –as can be seen here: https://knowgodsword.wordpress.com/sermons/6037-2/ A specific one that may be best to read within this “Page” is this post:

https://knowgodsword.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/never-uprooted-again/

The land of Israel belongs to the Jews. –The Jews whose physical ancestry can be traced back to Jacob. God promised the land to them –as a nation, as a people, as a race.

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

We Must Be Doing What Is Right

September 30, 2017

Friends,
Do we do what is right? How often? All the time? Most of the time? Okay, it’s often hard to evaluate ourselves objectively, so let’s ask, “Do others see me doing right, and how often? Would they consider me to be a righteous-acting person or a sinful-acting person?” I’m adding the word “acting” to the words “righteous” and “sinful” because these two latter words should be opposites to us since God’s Word reveals them to be opposites.

Let’s make no mistake about it: Scripture tells us that righteous people are not those who claim to be righteous in God’s eyes or who claim, “I have had Christ’s righteousness imputed to me”, but are instead those who are righteous-acting –those whose actions, thoughts, and words are righteous in God’s sight. Contrary to popular opinion, this is the Truth taught throughout the Word of God, just as 1 John 3:7b confirms: “He [the person] who does what is right is righteous, just as He [Christ Jesus] is righteous.” And the first part of the verse gives the warning, “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray.” Let’s take serious note: False doctrine is anticipated on this issue, warned about, and warned about to the children of God.

In case we still cannot see ourselves clearly enough to evaluate ourselves in this area, let’s then ask it of others we know: “Does that person generally do what is right, or generally do what is wrong?” 1 John 3:10 says, “Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God.” Or, “Anyone not practicing righteousness is not of God.” I’m not advocating going around judging people, but I am advocating that we discern, and particularly that we discern our own selves, our own actions, our own righteousness or unrighteousness before God. I meet people often, especially while evangelizing, who think they are fine in God’s eyes, even while they continue to buy and/or sell drugs, hire prostitutes, engage in unwholesome talk, and cheat their fellow man. Can such a person really belong to the Lord? 1 John 3:10 makes it abundantly clear that they do not. It makes it abundantly clear that, rather, they belong to the devil. If we can see this situation plainly in others, let’s try to see our own position plainly and truthfully.

This is 1 John 3:10 in its entirety: “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who is not practicing righteousness is not a child of God; neither is anyone who does not love his brother.”

Most of us know love is a must –that we must love the Lord fervently and love others as ourselves. But what about having a life that is filled with “doing what is right”? God’s Word tells us that this is both a proof and a requirement in our salvation status. Yet the church is ignoring this. They are denying that it is so. They are teaching that Christ-followers can do wrong / be sinful / have a life characterized by unrighteous behavior, and still be seen as righteous in God’s opinion. What deception.

1 John 3:8 says, “Anyone practicing sin is of the devil.” Verse 6a says, “Anyone abiding in Him [Christ] does not sin.” The rest of the verse says it even more strongly: “Anyone sinning has not seen Him nor has he known Him.” (v. 6b) Chapter 5, verse 18 says, “We know that everyone having been born of God does not continue to sin.” Chapter 2, verse 4 says, “The person saying, ‘I have known Him,’ yet is not keeping His commandments, is a liar and the Truth is not in him.”

Let’s go over to the Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 24. Jesus says, “Anyone not loving Me does not obey My teaching.” This means, then, that anyone who is not obeying Christ’s teaching does not love Him. Does anyone not loving Jesus make it to Heaven? Most Christians would say, “No”, as certainly would I, and we can confirm this in the Word, such as when Jesus teaches in this passage that it is the person who obeys Him within whom the Spirit sets up residence. (v. 21-23) And of course, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ indwelling him or her, that person does not belong to Christ.” (See Rom. 8:9)

While we’re at Rom. 8:9 let’s note that it also confirms that if we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, then we will not be controlled by the flesh (sinful nature / fallen natural nature) but will instead be controlled by the Spirit. Indeed, we have died to the old self and have a new nature and a new Boss. (Rom. ch. 6) If we resist following Him… if we ignore His orders… how can we claim to belong to Him? If we defy our employer’s instructions, would we last long in the company? If we disregard civil laws, would we not soon end up in jail? Heb. 10:29 warns, “How much worse a punishment do you think that person deserves who has trampled upon the Son of God, and who has esteemed as ordinary the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” How can we claim to follow Christ if we are being daily controlled by the fallen natural nature?

So where do we draw the line? How much unrighteous behavior severs us from Eternal Life? None? –if we claim to have trusted Jesus for salvation? What about a person who claims to belong to Christ yet who keeps falling into the sin of child molesting? Is that person saved because he has trusted in “Christ’s imputed righteousness” for himself? What about a “Christian” who views pornography? Is he really “a new creation”? (2 Cor. 5:17) Do such “Christians” truly possess the Holy Spirit who gives us “all the power we need to live godly”? (See 2 Pe. 1:3,4) Has the old self really died? Has such a person truly been washed clean? And if so, are they walking in that cleansing, or are they going back to the filth? The latter would describe such a person and 2 Pe. 2:20-22 explains, clearly, such a person’s fate.

Now let’s ask, if someone keeps doing the most vile of deeds, even while claiming to be saved, is that person saved? I think most everyone would have to say, “No, that person is deceiving himself.” Okay. So what about “lighter” sins? What about if someone is being immoral in any way? What about if someone has a habit of drugs, theft, rage, greed, laziness, slander, or lying?

Friends, the true standard is not our opinion. The standard is God’s standard and He has revealed what that is in His Word. This can be seen in Gal. 5:19-21 where we are told that “those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God” and it lists impurity, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, drunkenness, etc. “Those who live like this…” –That’s about behavior. Another example is in 1 Cor. 6:9-11 where a similar list is given. Verse 9 there warns us to not be deceived about the fact that the wicked will not inherit the Kingdom of God. And lest anyone says, “Well, ‘the wicked’ are those who have not had Christ’s righteousness imputed to them”, verses 9 and 10 list those characters who behave in particular manners. Wicked and righteous are labels the Bible gives to describe people as a result of the way those people conduct themselves. (See Mt. 13:41-43 & ch. 25 and John 5:29 and Ja. 2:14-26 just for starters.)

Some other lists of behaviors and character traits that will disable people from salvation can be seen in Eph. 4:31-5:7 which include bitterness, slander, and greed, and in Col. 3:5-10 which include lust, anger, malice and fowl talk, and in Rev. 21:8 which include the cowardly and all liars.

Col. 1:21 says, “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because…” Why? –Because you had not yet put your trust in Christ and been imputed forever with His righteousness? No. It says, “…because of your evil behavior.” It is sin that separates us from God and if we go back to wallowing in it, we have forfeited the grace of God that has allowed for us, and been available to empower us, to walk pleasing to Him. (Jonah 2:8,9 // Rom. 2:1-16 // 2 Cor. 6:1,2,14-18 // Titus 2:11-14 // Heb. 6:8 & 10:26-31)

So, is our life one of sinful-acting or righteous-acting? Are we wicked or are we righteous? All individuals, including those who claim to be saved, are given a label by God based on whether or not we are making a daily practice of doing what is right. (Luke 9:23-25) If we are not, we are sinning (Ja. 4:17), we do not belong to God (1 John 3:10), and we are, instead, of the devil. (v. 8 )

Let us, therefore, “repent and turn to God, doing works consistent with repentance.” (Acts 26:20)

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

Friends,
Last week while witnessing downtown a young woman came up to me asking for prayer concerning something she was extremely upset about. I listened to her and prayed with her and hugged her. I also gave her encouraging Scriptures, reminding her of God’s promises. Her tears stopped and she became joyful as she praised and thanked the Lord for His comforting, strengthening Word. She expressed hope and faith in what I was telling her and I was amazed. Readers, please say a prayer for her that she will walk close to the Lord. She told me that she has seen me witnessing down there for thirteen years, though she’d never talked to me till now.

That was a blessing encounter and I had many other ones. However, one encounter I had that stuck heavy in my mind and heart was a conversation I had with a young man who said he’d met me a year or so ago while he and some others were also evangelizing. We enjoyed edifying each other in the Word until it became obvious that we were not in agreement on the obedience/works issue. He kept pressing it and must’ve quoted Eph. 2:8,9 at least four times, being emphatic that works do not save us. I said works of the flesh and the law do not, but that obedience to Christ’s teachings and Spirit is necessary, that it is a continual choosing to put forth effort, that effort is certainly work (though yes, work done using the power of the Holy Spirit), and that it is thus works! He did quote verse 10 once as well, but he could not seem to accept that the “good works” stated there really does mean that we must do good works and that if we must, but we don’t, we’d be walking in rebellion to the Spirit. He agreed to a point, yet since he also revealed that he believes God preordains some people to be saved and some people to be damned (even while denying to be a Calvinist), he said that such rebellion against God would not keep a believer from being saved.

As I said to him, there are many other verses in the Bible, not just Eph. 2:8,9, and all Scripture must be taken into account and allowed to interpret itself. We cannot rest our theology on a few verses and ignore what other verses are teaching. We must weigh all the verses and look at their contexts. When we do this we see that there are scores of verses that teach that we must be walking in obedience to the Lord in order to be walking the path of Life and actually arrive at its final destination. (See Mt. 7:21 & 19:17 for starters.)

Let’s look at Eph. 2:8-10. These verses say, “For by grace you are saved through faith; and this not of yourselves; of God, the gift– not a result of works so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared in advance that in them we should walk.” We need to realize that faith is the actual adherence to what we claim to believe, and that adherence is action in mind, heart, and behavior. Because of God’s grace in offering us the gift of salvation, we are allowed to choose the gift by faith and then walk in it by faith. The offer of the gift was solely God’s doing and we didn’t deserve or earn the offer, but once we choose to accept the gift, we are required to abide by that which the gift requires –a continual submission to fulfilling those good deeds which God foreordained for us to do. (John 15:2 // Rom. 8:9,14 // Ja. 4:17)

Well, there were a lot of other verses I brought up to this guy, but he was no longer listening –only trying his best to convert me. It saddened me, and it saddens me that most of Christendom seems dangerously indifferent about, even resistant toward, obeying Jesus 24/7. They don’t seem to believe it is possible or necessary, so they choose to teach this unbelief and negligence to others, and they apparently feel satisfied because they do obey God’s Word when it’s convenient enough.

I wanted to quit the conversation because the disagreement was obviously going to solidly stand, so I gave him a hug and ended with 1 Tim. 4:16, reminding him that we better have our life and doctrine right since we will be held accountable for where we lead both ourselves and other people. At least he did agree with that.

1 Tim. 4:16 warns, “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the doctrine. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and those listening to you.” This verse says there is a way to save ourselves, as well as our hearers. Really? I thought Christendom is teaching that it is all God’s doing?

Well, like I said, we must interpret Scripture with Scripture and not build a doctrine on just an isolated verse or two.

Here are three more of the many other posts I’ve written on this issue:

https://knowgodsword.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/obedience-knowing-him/

https://knowgodsword.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/it-is-about-actionsbehaviorconduct/

https://knowgodsword.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/it-is-about-doing/

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel