By Mike Miller
Many people today are teaching that people are in facts gods (with a lower case “g”). I’m not talking about the Mormon doctrine of eternal progression, which teaches that some can become gods. I’m referring to those in the Word of Faith movement that teach that we have creative power in our words, just like God did when He spoke creation into existence (and they do make the upper/lower case distinction).
The key passage they turn to is John 10:34, where Jesus quotes Psalm 82, saying, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’?” This, they claim, is clear evidence that people are gods. But is that really what is going on in that text? I’d like to remind you of the single most important factor in reading, understanding, and interpreting Scripture:
In John 10, Jesus is specifically responding to the criticism leveled by the Jews that He was blaspheming because He called Himself Son of God. He quotes Psalm 82, which is a text addressed to the Israelites (though some interpreters think it only addresses Israel’s judges). They had been given the law and were to serve as God’s representatives, but they failed miserably. Thus, while in Psalm 82 God tells them that they were in effect supposed to be His representatives to those around them, they had failed. Instead of being true gods, then, they would die like men (a bit of sarcasm on God’s part perhaps?).
By Mike Miller
This time of year, as we are greeted once again by the old familiar story of the birth of Christ, it is important to guard our hearts to make sure we don’t lose the wonder of the incarnation. In order to hold on to that wonder (or recapture it), we need to take time to consider what makes it so wonderful in the first place. While I could write volumes, let’s just consider one aspect: the virgin birth.
The Bible teaches that Mary was a virgin when the Holy Spirit came upon her and miraculously impregnated her with the Son of God (Luke 1:26-38). Of course, as with any other biblical doctrine, many have rejected the belief in the virgin birth, and many have downplayed its importance. This is why some have asked if we need to believe in the virgin birth to be saved.
I’d like to start generally and then hone in on that particular question. What I mean is that instead of asking what a person needs to believe to be saved, let’s first ask what we need to tell people in order to share the Gospel. You see, I am of the conviction that much of what is passed off as “gospel” today is actually either less than or more than the Gospel (and really, when we add to the Gospel, we end up taking away from it–stay tuned).
By Mike Miller
Ephesians 2:4-6 says that God has “raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places.” Someone asked me if this means that somehow our spirits are actually with Him in heaven now? And if not, what does it mean?
Briefly, Ephesians 1 speaks of the blessings we have in Christ. Verse 3 says that God “has blessed us in the Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” then goes on to talk about those many blessings. We who are in Christ have incredible spiritual blessings that we don’t always even realize we have.
In chapter 2, we read that we were spiritually dead (though physically alive) until God made us alive. This does not mean that our souls have departed our bodies, but that we now have new life in Christ. Therefore, in a spiritual sense, we have been raised from the dead. To say that we are now seated in the heavenly places means that we have achieved victory over the “prince of the power of the air” (2:2). We are enthroned, and though we will not fully realize that victory until our bodily resurrection from the dead, we experience it somewhat now and have certainty of it for eternity.
Do you have that new life? Have you been raised from the dead? Are you now living in victory, looking forward to that glorious day when death will be no more? If not, would you turn to Jesus today? If you have questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mike Miller
Someone recently sent me this question:
Pastor Mike, how do we get our desire back for God? I am a believer, but have just stepped away. I still attend church, but that is it. It’s like the only time I worship God or anything is when i am at church or occasionally in the car on the way to work or something. I do not pray like I should or read my Bible? Does God get disappointed at us when we walk away from Him? Also, not to contradict myself when I say I am a believer, but could it be that maybe I just haven’t completely surrendered my all to Him? I feel that I have accepted Christ and have had some changes in my life since doing so, but maybe just didn’t give Him everything. Does this mean that I am truly not saved?
The reality is that we all have times when our Christian walk is not as sweet as it should be or as it has been in the past. Those times are perfectly normal in the Christian life. We’re just not as close to Jesus as we should be, and this causes us not only sadness and anxiety, but also the questioning of our salvation. Believe it or not, I think this is good, because we should all take a hard look at our salvation from time to time. I fear for those who have walked an aisle in a church and prayed a prayer, yet are not truly saved, but they never examine their lives to test the validity of their salvation. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?– unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” Nevertheless, when we are distant, we don’t want to stay there. When our desire has faded, we want it back. Let’s look at Scripture to see what to do.
Through the Apostle John, Jesus sent a letter to the church in Ephesus, and it is recorded in Revelation 2:1-7. He commended the church for some things, but He took exception to something: “You have abandoned the love you had at first” (verse 4). In other words, they were doing good things, but they had lost their love for Jesus. They had drifted away in their devotion and affections for Him. Therefore, in verse 5, Jesus told them what they needed to do.
After the massacre in Connecticut on Friday, everyone in America is asking questions of some kind. Some concern the young man who perpetrated the evil act, some concern his family (what they could have done to prevent his actions), and some concern society (what led him to this and how can we prevent more of these kinds of things). Many people, however, are asking questions about God. I’ve heard people asking things like, “Where was God when this was happening?” or, “Why would a good God let something like this happen?” So, how do we answer those kinds of questions? The following is my attempt to address the goodness and greatness of God in the light of a senseless and evil event.
I must start by saying that there are no simple or pat answers to these deep and probing questions. Sometimes we resort to pithy and trite statements such as, “God is good,” or “We just need to have faith.” While those statements are true, they really aren’t very helpful at times like this. Moreover, when the pain is fresh and the wound is raw, long philosophical arguments about the nature of evil and suffering don’t seem very helpful either. What we really want to know is whether there are any solid truths we can cling to that will help us gain a solid footing when the world seems to be spinning out of control. Therefore, I want to share four truths with you that I hope will help, but before I do, let me address the “where is God” issue for those who might be upset with God right now.
First Baptist Church Mission Statement
At First Baptist Church of Kenner, we believe Jesus clearly spelled out our mission, purpose, and vision when He gave the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. Therefore, our what we do, why we do it, and what we seek to be is summed up in the following statement:
The Mission of First Baptist Church is to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that He commanded us.