Monday, September 28, 2009

Orthodox View of the Fall

presented by Pat Brown, Youth Pastor

Introductory Questions:
Why is the world such a confusing place?
Why is there so much trouble in relationships - ie: divorce, enmity, confusion....
Why is there so much evil in the world?
Why must we be saved and why is it that only Jesus can save?
Finally, for Christians in particular, why do we still do bad things, lack contentment and understanding in our lives? Rom. 7:10-24

(The Christian contention is that Christianity holds the answers to these questions and that no other religion does.)


I. The Dual Nature of Humanity.
A. Physical Body
1. The fact that we have a physical body is not disputed.
2. The physical body is a distinct substance, having its own distinct properties.
Note: the physical body will be revived - resurrected - and be eternally connected with the soul.

B. Immaterial soul
1. Biblical texts proving the soul:
Matt. 10:28
Rev. 6:9

2. Biblical Texts proving the spirit:
Luke 8:55
Acts 7:59
James 2:26
3. Definition of the soul:
a. the soul or spirit is the non-physical, rational substance in which the rational faculties - intellect, will, and affections - are grounded
b. the soul/spirit is immortal and survives the death of the physical body.
Biblical support for intermediate state: 11 Cor. 5:8
11 Peter 1:13-14

4. Definition of intellect - or mind- will and affections
a. Intellect: the faculty of the soul that knows, deliberates, or thinks and assents to the truth.
b. Will: the faculty of the soul that provides it the appetite or desires needed to make decisions - the inclination; the orientation of the soul towards a particular end or goal.
Note: the will must be inclined to the Holy or inclined to self: it cannot be neutral.
c. Affections: the emotions

II. The Created State of Adam and Eve

A. All of God's creation was good. Gen. 1:31
1. Adam and Eve were able to sin or not sin.
2. They had perfect knowledge and relationship with God.
3. This is due to the fact that their hearts were directed toward God - the ultimate good.

B. They were created in God's image: Gen. 1:26-27
1. We are intrinsically valuable.
a. We are personal: intellect, will, emotions
b. We are eternal: in that God has chosen to sustain us for eternity.
c. We make moral decisions that have ultimate consequences.
2. Humanity is a species. God created male and female. From them comes ALL humanity.
a. Different from angels - they were probably created individually
b. We inherit our traits from Adam and Eve.

III. Adam and Eve's Souls after the Fall

A. Their wills were now inclined to selfishness
B. Adam and Eve's choice to sin was a selfish choice; an attempt to make themselves like God.
C. Their souls no longer were inclined toward holiness and their relationship with God was severed.

IV. Humanity's Soul after the Fall

A. Adam and Eve's sin resulted in what we call the sin nature. IMPORTANT: The change in Adam and Eve's nature was inheritable. In other words, the change in their nature was such that it would be passed on to all humanity.

B. Summary of effects resulting from the fall:
Adam and Eve fell; sin and, therefore, evil entered the world; all humans were subsequently born with a sin nature.
T his means that after death, depending on their state at the time of their death, they will -- a: go to heaven, or b: the will go to hell.

C. Biblical support for the fall of humanity.
1. Romans 5:12
2. Romans 5:15
3. Romans 5:16
4. Romans 5:18
5. Romans 3:10
6. Jer. 17:9
7. Ezek. 36:25-27

V. Nature Talk

All of humanity is born with a sin nature. Inclined to selfishness. All that we do is for selfish reasons, and therefore all that we do is wrong. We are born with a defective will.

B. We sin because we have a sin nature:
1. The sin does not cause the nature, but the nature causes the sin.
2. NOTE: God is perfect due to His perfect nature. His actions did not cause Him to become perfect. It is His perfect nature that causes His perfect actions.

C. Humanity is born in a state, such that it cannot NOT sin.
The sin nature makes in impossible for humans not to sin.
2. Due to the fact that nature determines the action, and a creature cannot determine its nature, the only way to fix a defective nature is by the power of the Creator God.

NOTE: We all choose to sin, and therefore have intentional sin on our record for which we will be judged -- unless we have accepted Jesus' payment for our sins.

Next Sunday - continuation with: What we can do to fix this.

Monday, September 21, 2009

You Can Make an Eternal Difference

IF Jesus did and said what's recorded, THEN we can know some things about: person of Christ, our salvation, right and wrong, judgment, eternal state.

IF....... THEN...... YOU CAN MAKE AN ETERNAL DIFFERENCE. John 14:12 This is puzzling, but if it's TRUE, you can make a difference. The same way Jesus made a difference, we can make a great difference. We have the same opportunities.

QUESTION: Is this true or just good preaching material????

ANSWER: Statistics show this to be true.
#1. Past Growth - on a worldwide scale - in AD 100 - there were 360 non-Christians for every 1 Christian.
In AD 1000 - that ratio was 220 to 1
In AD 1500 - that ratio was 69 to 1
In AD 1900 - " " " 27 to 1
In 1992 - that ratio was 2 to 1 (every third person was a Christian)
(33.4% of the world's population named Christianity as their religion or religion of preference)

In the U.S. the ratio is 1 non-Christian to 4 Christians which is 80%

#2. Current Growth - According to an article entitled THE GROWTH OF CHRISTIANITY WORLDWIDE, published August 27th, 2005: Quote by Philip Jenkins, distinguished professor of History and Religious Studies at Pennsylvania State University.
in part, Places considered unreachable several decades ago have now become hot spots for Christian growth, and hundreds of new churches are being planted each month in those places. Some examples cited were the country of Nepal, China, and Benin in Africa. As the media have striven in recent years to present Islam in a more sympathetic light, they have tended to suggest that Islam, not Christianity, is the rising faith of Africa and Asia, the authentic or default religion of the world's huddled masses. But Christianity is not only survivng in the global south, it is enjoying a radical revival, a return to scriptural roots. WE are living in revolutionary times," Mr. Jenkins said.

No matter how bad things may seem here at home, God is at work, and in the end, it is God to whom every knee will bow, and every tongue confess.

#3. Expected Growth - in a book titled GOD Is Back: How the Global Rise of Faith Will Change the World - written by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge - one an atheist and one a Catholic.
What's going on? The authors assert that the surge of religion is driven by competition and choice.: It is not just that religion is thriving in many modernizing countries; it is also that religion is succeeding in harnessing the tools of modernity to propagate its message. The very things that were supposed to destroy religion --d democracy and markets, technology and reason -- are combining to make it stronger.

QUESTION: Why is it so difficult to see the growth? the difference?

Here are some reasons:
#1. Growth is slow, incremental, and hard to see. Example: a tree growing over hundreds of years. Doesn't look that different from year to year, but in fact, is changing.

#2. We see so many failures! - within Christianity. within the church. within self!
We will see failures: "for all have sinned and come short"

#3. We're too easily swayed by these failures. We see the bad stuff and it distorts our whole picture of what's happening.

We are so controlled by current events that -
#4. Our personal contributions are hard to see. Examples: the prophet Jeremiah, and Martin Luther.
The difference IS being made.
#5, The result of our successes is: A. not immediate B. impossible to measure.

#6. Much of the difference will only be revealed in heaven. Matt. 25:34-40 "when???"

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Afterlife: A Biblical View

Continuation of the IF/THEN Series.

The concept of an "afterlife" is inherent and universal. There are various views of what it is like.
But: can we KNOW?? and can we PREPARE?? We can know a lot of things about afterlife; not everything, but a LOT of things.

The Christian view is that we CAN know (some) .... a. through Revelation
b. through Christ's resurrection (over death)
c. through the Apostles' record as they walked with Him both pre-resurrection and after the resurrection.

Therefore: IF Jesus did and said what's recorded, THEN we CAN know some things about afterlife AND we CAN PREPARE!!
Luke 16:19-31 - there are only two places - heaven and hell. There is no other place.

(there are hundreds of New Testament references)
A. the dwelling place of God.
B. Jesus came from there and has returned to there and is waiting there until His 2nd. coming
C. A place of unbelievable glory and splendor Rev. 4:1-2 Thus John's descriptions.
D. A place beyond our comprehension or imagination. This is the reason for the poetic imagery used to describe the indescribable. 1 Cor. 2:9
E. A place of "Rightness" Rev. 21:3-4 It will be what life ought to be.
F. A place prepared for us. Matt. 25:31-34

Question: Will all go there? Answer: Matt. 7:21-23

HELL (there are fewer references but most are directly from Christ) There are only two references in the New Testament to Hell not given by Jesus.
A. A terrible place Mk. 9:43-48 Rev. 14:9-11
B. Prepared for Satan and his minions Matt. 25:41 Was not prepared for us. Heaven was prepared for us. There is no where else to go.
C. the final abode of those who reject God and Christ. Rev. 20:10, 14-15
D. as eternal as heaven. Matt. 25:46 (the same word, "eternal" used as the adjective)

A typical response is: "I'm OK with the doctrine of heaven, but I don't like the doctrine of hell."
Answer: I'm glad to hear that! Wouldn't be a very good person if you were OK with the doctrine of hell.

1. our belief in heaven is based on the SAME source or authority as our belief in hell.

Point being: how can you accept Christ's and the Apostles' teachings on heaven and not on hell?
Do these men have less knowledge than us? do we know more that they do? do they have less love for God and man? did they misrepresent Christ? Rom. 9:2-3 or did they lack our capacity for mercy? The Apostles' love for God and other people far surpasses any of ours!!!

2. truth is not determined by preference. (or we'd eliminate cancer) It's a stupid idea that we get that if we don't like it, it can't be true.

So.... can we know? what afterlife looks like?

Answer: IF Jesus did, said, etc. ... THEN we can know some.

What about....."Can we prepare?" Answer: YES!! Note: Bridge Illustration below
John 14:1-6

This is not ALL the preparation, but it DOES equal the most important and vital step.

Just knowledge of the bridge won't get you there. YOU must cross the bridge by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Animations from

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Final Judgment

Continuation of the IF/THEN series.
Eccles. 3:11 - "set eternity in the heart"

Ed calls this a doctrine, inherently known, scripturally confirmed, traditional accepted. It became a part of orthodoxy.

Others also agree that the fact of final judgment is inherently known, universally accepted.
BUT, what's it LOOK like??? (the concept is "we're here, we're gonna die, then judgment")
Justice will be done.

IF Jesus did and said the things he did and said, and taught and revealed as recorded.....
THEN: 1. we can be certain of judgment
2. we can know some important and specific aspects of judgment
3. we can prepare for judgment

I. The Fact of Judgment - (throughout the scripture, especially in the New Testament)
Rev. 20:11-15 - end times. God is absolute judge, there will be no argument

II. The Need for Judgment (why not forget and forgive??)
1. to see justice done!! Rev. 6:9-11
2. to fully glorify (vindicate) God
4. to fulfill His promises to us
God is more than a merciful God. he is a just God. God will meet the need for justice.

III. The Nature of Judgment (some glimpses)
1. according to truth (God's standard - not ours) Rev. 19:1-2
2. with Christ as the judge John 5:24-29
3. it's personal - (is a national judgment) but I will answer for me.
4. revealing Rom. 2:16 - will reveal the secrets of the heart.
5. thorough Matt. 12:36-37 (we will answer for every careless word spoken)
6. public??? (the New Testament pictures judgment this way) BUT, we're all going to be in the same boat. Won't be listening to another's judgment.

IV. The Scope of Judgment (equals ALL)
1. unbelievers -
2. angels 1 Cor. 6:2-3 (good & bad?? - our part.)
3. believers. 2 Cor. 5:10 Rom. 14:9-10, 12

BUT NOTE: an enormous, essential aspect of judgment has already been executed. At the CROSS!!
2 Cor. 5:21 1 Pet. 2:24 Gal. 3:13 Isa. 53:5 - the scapegoat! Jesus paid the debt in our place and carried the debt away.

Note #1: This does NOT mean no judgment for believers.
It does mean no fear. No condemnation. This is NOT an issue of salvation or eternal destiny.
1 Cor. 3:13-15

Note #2. Judgment need not be all NEGATIVE (judgment can mean praise, commendation, rewards)
#1. patience (God will make everything right in His time) This does NOT mean inaction! - we are commanded to help the weak, seek justice, etc.
#2. preparation a. accepting Christ
b. living right.
#3. evangelism (in the broadest sense of Kingdom building) - to encourage and persuade men to righteous living. 2 Cor. 5:11
#4. thanksgiving - Christ paid for you, for me! mercy & grace!
#5. commitment - to Him, His Word, His teaching, etc.