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The Parsonage

WIN THE BATTLE, LOSE THE WAR

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God..


Have you ever wondered what the life of a minister is like? Well wonder no longer because it's time for The Parsonage, where you will experience a day in the life of Reverend Leopold and his wife Ermintrude Bach, patriarch of the perish.

In today's episode we find Pastor Leo discussing denominational views with his friend Pastor Ottoman Hassock. Listen:

"I think you're wrong Leo. I don't think a person can be truly saved unless they believe in the divinity of Jesus. How can a person believe a person can be saved and receive eternal life if they don't believe their redeemer is God Himself? The two concepts are incompatible."

"Then I take it you believe that it's the divinity of Jesus that saves a person? Is that correct Otto? I thought you believed it was the death of Jesus that saves a person. I thought it was confidence in the resurrection of Jesus that gives us hope of eternal life. But as I hear you I was under the wrong impression, is that correct Otto?"

"You're putting words in my mouth Leo. I said nothing of the kind. One thing does not cancel out the other. I can believe that two and two is four and still believe that three plus one is four. The two concepts are not dependant one upon another."

"Very true Otto. And that's my point. You started this discussion by stating that a person can not be saved if they don't believe in the divinity of Jesus. I say that the divinity of Jesus has nothing to do with our salvation. I believe...."

"How can you say such a thing Leo? I have always felt that you and I were on the same track as far as the fundamentals were concerned. Now after all these years, and after all our discussions, I hear you talking like a cult member. I don't know what to believe of you anymore, or to know what to take seriously that you say. Do you believe in the divinity of Jesus or not?"

"I'll preface my reply with my belief that it is unimportant if I believe Jesus is God or if He isn't. I want to clear that part up from the beginning. As to whether I personally believe Jesus is part of the Godhead, yes I do. I not only believe He is part of God, but I believe much more than that which I don't feel at liberty to discuss at this time. My point is not whether Jesus is God. My point is that Jesus told His disciples, and His followers many things. But there was one thing He did not tell them, and in not telling them, He did not tell us, and that is whether He was God or not. He always managed to slip past that question. That's not to say we can't see strong illusions to the fact of His divinity, but He never said outright to believe He was God in order to be saved."

"I think you're wrong Leo, I really do. There are three principles that must be accepted in order to be a true Christian, therefore a redeemed Christian. Those principles are the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, and the resurrection. Those are a must if one is to see Heaven."

"I would like to ask you a question Otto, have you ever heard the phrase, win the battle and lose the war?"

"Yes Leo, I've hear it. But what has that got to do with what we're talking about? You have a way of taking a person off on side trips that lead to nowhere and I have to bring you back to the topic at hand. So let's get back to the divinity of Jesus and let's not wander off on any battlefield."

"The Christian life is a war Otto. That's why Jesus through the Holy Spirit is training soldiers. I know you don't accept this, but it does not change the fact. This we see all through the Bible, and we'll certainly find this out when the war is over. Those soldiers who feel they do not have to train for the war will find themselves as did the Israelites in the wilderness who did not feel they should have to endure testing. They were looking to fight their personal battles, and they did not wish to enter into the Promised Land where the war was to be fought. I believe this is happening to the Church as well."

"There you go again Leo. You're all over the place. You jump from battlefield to wilderness, and you just can't stay on track. What has any of this to do with the divinity of Jesus? Please answer me that."

"It has nothing to do with the divinity of Jesus, and that's my point. But it has everything to do with salvation, and that I believe was the true point you were making. You said we must believe in the divinity of Jesus in order to be saved. I say it is not important if a person believes in the divinity of Jesus. You can be absolutely correct in your belief, and I believe you are. You can be absolutely correct in your belief in the Trinity. But these beliefs will not save you. Jesus never said to believe in His divinity. He said to believe that He is the Messiah. And that is not the same thing as believing He is God. But more than this He gave us many things we must do in order to prove our faith in Him. He said to love one another. He said to obey the commandments. He said to abandon everything and follow Him to the cross. These are the things that will make the difference when we stand before the Throne of Judgement. He won't be asking if we believe in the Trinity. He won't be asking if we believe He is God. What He will be asking is if we visited the sick, if we showed our love for those in prison, the widows, the poor. He will be examining our works, our words, if we confessed Him to others, if we endured to the end. These things He made very clear to us. Yet we avoid those things that are demanded of us, those aspects of Christianity that will cause us to win the war, and instead we dwell on the polishing of brass buttons of doctrine in effort to win the minor battles of non essentials."



[Note: I hadn't intended to turn this story into a study, but my plans rarely work out as I had planned them.

The Scriptures below are not intended to be exhaustive, but I think you'll find them sufficient to show how Jesus took great pains to point to the fact that He was the awaited Messiah, the Son of God, without ever claiming to be God Himself. Of course we might say: "Isn't the Son of God the same thing as God Himself?" We might think so, however if you check out the verses from the Epistles you will see that we, the Church, are also called sons of God.

We like to argue and to be right. We also like to show our superiority by proving ourself better and more knowledgeable than others. And what better way to accomplish this than to try and find hidden meanings in the Bible to prove our point. This all comes from vanity, from our ego. And it's that very ego we are to strive to do away with.]



14Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel ("Good news"). (Mark 1:)

12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:)

43I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? (John 5:)

28Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. (John 5:)

68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. (John 6:)

24I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. 25Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. (John 8:)

35Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? 36He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? 37And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. 38And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. (John 9:)

25Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (John 11:)

29His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. 30Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. 31Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? (John 16)

20Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:)

30And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:)

12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Rom 8:)

19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Rom 8:)

16And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2Cor 6:)

14Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 15That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Phil 2:)

10For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, (Heb 2:)

4Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. (Heb 12:)

1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (1John 3:)

33The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 34Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? (John 10:)

[Note: Here the Pharisees came right out and said what the churches say today, that Jesus claimed to be God. Notice that Jesus brought them back to what He had been saying from the beginning, that He was the awaited Messiah, the Son of God. Does this mean that He rejected the idea of Him being God? No, but let's not play the fool by putting words into the mouth of Jesus that He never said.]

25The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.... 41And many more believed because of his own word; 42And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

[Note: Here (Below) we have the High Priest trying to get Jesus to confess the worst, to catch Him in something whereby he could execute Jesus. Take note that the High Priest was not trying to get Jesus to say He was God, just the Son of God, the Messiah. The basis of salvation is not dependant upon believing Jesus is God or else He would have said so plainly instead of hiding the fact. We need to hear what Jesus said, not try to figure out what He didn't say:

61Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 63Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? 64Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? (Mark 14:)

Truth does not have to be forced or uncovered. God makes His truth plain for all to see, if we are actually desiring truth and not merely to prove our theory. When great lengths are taken to prove something in the Bible, you can be quite sure that the premise is a false one.]

37Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? (John 18:)

63But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. 64Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 65Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. (Mat 26)

24Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. 26But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 30I and my Father are one. 31Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 34Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? 37If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. (John 10:)

If you're one of the Lord's sheep you'll turn your ear to Him and not to people who try to alter His Words.


14Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. 15Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. (2Tim 2:)


 

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