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Friday, March 18, 2011

Pond scene along Donegal Creek, Lancaster County PA
A peaceful pond scene along our country walk.
With warmer, spring-like weather we are resuming our long daily walks along Donegal Creek.
Both our dogs are sure pleased that we take these long walks!
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

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"Deny or Confess – The Decision is Yours"

"For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord" (Jude 1:4).

New Testament cover
When I became a Christian in the early seventies we were in the midst of what was known as the Jesus Movement when many young people, high school and college age, were coming to Christ. One of the signature expressions of faith at that time was the index finger pointed to the sky, which became known as the "one way sign", a digital confession of faith in Jesus as the one way to God. In fact I carried a New Testament at that time which I still have with a large one way sticker plastered on the back cover. As Christian students met at Truman High School we would greet one another by raising the One Way sign!

The last several days we’ve been studying the book of Jude, highlighting the phrase where he urged his readers, "to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 1:3).

He was especially rebuking two grievous errors in the false prophets’ message and teaching; errors which persist to this day. In yesterday's message we dealt with the first error: changing the grace of our God into a license for immorality.

Today we consider the second grievous error that Jude confronted: "They deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord."

Jesus had spoken about the ultimate peril regarding those who deny Him, "But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 10:33). The apostle Paul repeated this in 2 Timothy 2:12, "If we deny Him, He also will deny us."

So what kind of denial of Christ was Jude confronting?

Jude and 2 Peter have some parallel teaching and this verse from Peter seems related, "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves" (2 Peter 2:1).

But there's another aspect to the nature of this denial that intrigues me as I study this text and consider current forms of denial. Increasingly due to tolerance, sensitivity and political correctness the exclusive nature of Christ as the only way to God is being denied.

The phrase under consideration today regarding these false teachers is, "They deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord." The focus on this passage seems to be the word "only".

One of the greatest offenses to secular sensitivities and religious tolerance is the assertion of the exclusive truth claims of Jesus Christ. To those ignorant of sound Biblical doctrine, but thoroughly indoctrinated in the ways of the world, this claim seems unloving or mean-spirited. Sadly this would also be evident in the modernistic and apostate churches (many aspects of postmodernism is integrated in the growing emergent church movement).

To postmodernism thinking all religions are equally valid and there are many ways to God. Presently there is a renewed interest in the ancient error of universalism, which proposes that in the end all are saved regardless of their belief or disbelief in Christ. This outlook is seen as virtuous, loving, and all-embracing of people groups all over the world.

Many have no problem recognizing Jesus as a fine man and excellent teacher, perhaps even a noble example. The rub comes in His claim to being the second Person in the divine Trinity, whom we alone must worship. He is God's only provision for meeting our sin problem. Indeed "Jesus Christ is our only Sovereign and Lord."

Open Bible
True followers of Jesus Christ must faithfully proclaim their Master's words; "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). The apostolic proclamation was an unequivocal statement of faith concerning the Name of Jesus Christ, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). It is common these days for people to espouse that those who believe in a worthy cause and give their all for it will be saved in the end. You might hear such a reference given in a eulogy at a loved one’s funeral or you might read it in an obituary.

Today join us in making this great confession of faith, "We confess that Jesus Christ is the only Sovereign and Lord." What a powerful statement of steadfast commitment! We must not dilute the exclusive truth claims of Jesus Christ by what we say, what we stand for, and by our actions. We must not "update" according to our present culture's way of thinking. And we must not customize or “tweak” the gospel to adjust to our liking or what may be acceptable by the world or it will become a false gospel that we promote.

The apostle Paul reaffirms the words of Christ when he wrote, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time" (1 Timothy 2:5,6).

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man Daily prayer: Father, when we seek audience with You we come through Your Son Jesus who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Error, confusion, and false teaching have existed since the Fall, leading millions to perish eternally. We know it is incumbent that we adhere to the teachings of Christ as we acknowledge that He is the only way to salvation, for You have provided no other one and no other way. Your plan was not partial but is complete. Help us to be wise, discerning, and content in Your perfect plan of salvation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Today we both recalled an early Scripture memory song from the "Jesus Movement" in the seventies based entirely on John 14:6. We are sure some of you recall it. I was unable to find it on YouTube to share! However to illustrate the power of Scripture set to song as an aid to memorization early in our podcast today Brooksyne sings it through once!

"This Is Our God"  Video   Chris Tomlin

"God And God Alone"  Video   Steve Green

"You Are God Alone"  Video  Phillips, Craig and Dean

Here are some online articles concerning today's topic:
"Jesus: The Only Way To Heaven?"

"The New Absolutes"

Like many of you we continue to pray for the people in Japan. Here's a prayer written by John Piper.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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