Sermon on the unforgivable sin


This sermon was delivered on 4/09/16 by Chris Duke at Essendon Presbyterian Church. The article is from notes I took while listening so is not word for word, though I have tried to be accurate. I have also used an article called “Immanuel: the gospel according to Isaiah” from Creation Magazine (Creation 38(4) 2016).

Today’s message is centred around Mark 3:22-35:

22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. 23 And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. 27 No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house. 28 Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 29 but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: 30 Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

31 There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. 32 And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. 33 And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? 34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

A critical section of the Lord’s prayer is a request to Father God to forgive us of our sins. Sin is an offence to God. As God forgives us, we ask that we have the same gracious attitude to forgive others. Often, however, we resist forgiving, due mainly to pride. We tend to excuse our own behaviour though when we lack forgiveness whilst not excusing it in others.

Isn’t the gospel about God’s offer of forgiveness to sinners? God will forgive all our trespasses, so when we read in today’s passage that Jesus said one sin is unforgivable, isn’t this a contradiction? No. This passage ought to frighten the comfortable and comfort the frightened. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all proclaim that Jesus is God – 100% man and 100% very God, God in human flesh. Believing this and committing your life to Christ is the only way to escape hell and enter heaven. The evidence is very powerful and is laid down by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament and even the Old Testament.

For example, Isaiah 9:6-7 prophesied that Immanuel would be born in the house of David. He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23), He would be the servant of Yahweh from His earliest existence (Isaiah 49:1, 5). He would be holy and set apart for service to Yahweh, who would put His words in Immanuel’s mouth (Isaiah 49:2). He would be extraordinarily wise, and would be filled with God’s Spirit (Isaiah 11:1). Immanuel would “refuse the evil and choose the good” (Isaiah 7:15), which no mere person does consistently. This is an indication that Immanuel would not be a mere man; even the extraordinarily righteous men in the Bible were still sinners. Immanuel’s birth makes it clear that He would not be an ordinary person, and His name means “God with us”, meaning that His birth would signify God’s presence with His people in a special way. He is called “Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). Someone with these titles could be no less than God Himself.

Though there would be signs to point to the truth of Immanuel’s identity, He would seem to be a normal person; He would not be obviously divine (Isaiah 53:2). And Israel would ultimately reject Him, as Israel had rejected Yahweh for idols in Isaiah’s day, subjecting Him to humiliation and ultimately death. He would be beaten so badly that He would be disfigured (Isaiah 52:14).

Yet all this would be in line with the will of Yahweh (Isaiah 53:10); and it’s because it is the will of Yahweh that Immanuel would not resist (Isaiah 50:6; 53:7). Immanuel would be shamed temporarily, but Yahweh Himself would vindicate Immanuel, and He would be honoured eternally (Isaiah 50:7-9, 53:12).

The purpose of the shaming and death of Immanuel would be to pay for the sins of Yahweh’s people, both among the Jews and Gentiles (Isaiah 53). Immanuel would never sin, so His death could count for the payment of the sins of many others. This sacrifice would bring in a new covenant, in which Jews and Gentiles who believe in Yahweh and His Son share equally in eternal life (Isaiah 56:3, 6-7).

One of the most well-known events recorded is Isaiah’s vision of Yahweh’s glory (in Isaiah 6:1-4):

6 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

3 And one cried unto another, and said,

Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts:
the whole earth is full of his glory.
4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

John says that this was actually a vision of the pre-incarnate Son (John 12:37-41). While Immanuel would not manifest His true glory, He nevertheless possesses it (and the Transfiguration was one instance where Jesus’ true glory shone through).

Because Immanuel paid the price for His people’s sins, He is able to usher in a restoration of the entire earth. Reigning on David’s throne, He judges all nations. The earth itself is restored to an Edenic state where there is no more carnivory or predation, and snakes will not pose a threat to even the smallest children (Isaiah 11:6-9; 65:25). In that time, all false Gods will be humiliated and all idols will be destroyed never to be worshipped again.

When we properly understand how Christ is foreshadowed in the Old Testament, we can see that the Gospel is not new, or an idea foreign to the Old Testament. It is possible to preach the gospel from Isaiah or from other books of the Old Testament – as did Christ Himself (Luke 24:13-35), Philip (Acts 8:26-39) and especially Paul (eg. Acts 17:2-3) – if we see how they point to Jesus.

The evidence is powerful as well when demonstrated and lived out in Jesus’ three-year life and ministry. There were healings, deliverances from demons, raising of the dead, all pointing to the fact that Jesus is God. Yet the human heart and human mind is often blinded and dead to the truth. Some people made the right response but most didn’t. People today just want to ignore the historical Jesus, stating that He was merely a good man. But He was more than this, He said He was God. And by saying this He eliminated Himself from the category of the good and the reasonable. And if we eliminate this we are left with Him being either a lunatic or a liar. Yet isn’t it interesting that 2,000 years after He walked the earth, Christianity is still flourishing in the West?

Verse 33 of today’s passage reads:

And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?

Jesus is here saying that the only relationship that matters to me is a spiritual relationship. A blood relationship alone to me won’t get you into the Kingdom. Whoever does God’s will is related to me.

If your conclusion about Jesus is that He is a lunatic, you don’t have a relationship with Him. Many who reached this conclusion later repented (after His resurrection, when all the data was in).

What if you conclude that He was a liar? Verse 22 of today’s passage reads:

22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.

So the religious leaders of Israel said this. The brains trust of Judaism went after Jesus. They didn’t like His message or what He was doing. They conspired to kill Him as He went about healing on the Sabbath. He was doing miracles, teaching the good news of the Kingdom, spreading the good news of salvation: and the religious elites hated Him for it. So they sent out a delegate who concluded that Jesus was possessed by Beelzebub. They didn’t conclude that He was insane, interestingly enough, as this wouldn’t explain the supernatural. His power over demons and disease had to be accounted for: it was either due to God or Satan. Sadly, these leaders were unwilling to say Jesus’ power was due to God. Instead they called him a name for Satan, Beelzebub. This name came from the word Baal, meaning “Lord.” This was the god of the Ekronites, the Philistines worshiped him. A more proper rendering of the name might be Baalsebub or “Lord of the High Place.” Effectively what these leaders were calling Jesus was Lord of the dung, Lord of the flies, all terms for Satan.

Jesus’ response to this is given in verse 23. He says effectively, how can Satan drive out Satan? This is a logical impossibility. Good teachers such as the Lord ask questions that make students think, that put them on the horns of a dilemma. Jesus does this here. He in effect says, “Satan wouldn’t expose people with demons and cast them out. This would destroy both himself and his enterprise.”

Verse 27 brings a positive message from Jesus: you have to be stronger than Satan to get his power:

27 No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.

There is only one who is stronger than Satan and that’s God. In effect then, Jesus was saying, I am God. So no Jesus isn’t a lunatic or a deceptive liar who represents hell. The only other option is that He is God, He is Lord.

Verse 29 reads:

29 but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:

The unforgivable sin then is that Jesus is demonic. Those who believed this went to hell for that. If that’s your final conclusion after the full revelation of scripture and the gospel have been given to you, then you can never be forgiven. This was a very unusual circumstance in that the religious leaders were blaspheming the Holy Spirit directly by saying Jesus was demonic.

Yet we know with Jesus that whatever He did was the Father’s will and was done via the Holy Spirit:

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
(John 5:30)

What about today? Could someone today commit the unforgivable sin? Yes of course they could. We’ve all been forgiven for rejecting Christ at some stage in our lives, before we were born again. The comforting truth is that if you’re frightened that you’ve committed this sin then you most certainly have not. If you’re comfortable and not spiritually convicted, however, you need to receive Christ today:

http://www.chick.com/reading/tracts/0001/0001_01.asp

May the Lord Jesus bless you always.

What does it mean to truly follow Jesus?

By S. Michael Houdmann, Supporter of Got Questions Ministries

In the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), Jesus’ command to “follow me” appears repeatedly (e.g., Matthew 8:22; 9:9; Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27; John 1:43). In many cases, Jesus was calling the twelve men who would become His disciples (Matthew 10:3-4). But other times, He was speaking to anyone who wanted what He had to offer (John 3:16; Mark 8:34).

In Matthew 10:34-39, Jesus stated clearly what it means to follow Him. He said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”

Jesus’ bringing a “sword” and turning family members against each other can seem a little harsh after words like “whosoever believes on Him shall not perish” (John 3:16). But Jesus never softened the truth, and the truth is that following Him leads to difficult choices. Sometimes turning back may seem very appealing. When Jesus’ teaching went from the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11) to the coming cross, many who had followed him turned away (John 6:66). Even the disciples decided that following Jesus was too difficult the night He was arrested. Every one of them deserted Him (Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50). On that night, following Christ meant possible arrest and execution. Rather than risk his own life, Peter denied that he even knew Jesus three times (Matthew 26:69-75).

To truly follow Christ means He has become everything to us. Everyone follows something: friends, popular culture, family, selfish desires, or God. We can only follow one thing at a time (Matthew 6:24). God states we are to have no other gods before Him (Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7; Mark 12:30). To truly follow Christ means we do not follow anything else. Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” There is no such thing as a “halfway disciple.” As the disciples demonstrated, no one can follow Christ by the strength of his own willpower. The Pharisees were good examples of those who were trying to obey God in their own strength. Their self-effort led only to arrogance and distortion of the whole purpose of God’s Law (Luke 11:39; Matthew 23:24).

Jesus gave His disciples the secret to faithfully following Him, but they did not recognize it at the time. He said, “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing (John 6:63). And “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them” (verse 65). The disciples had walked with Jesus for three years, learning, observing, and participating in His miracles. Yet, even they could not follow Him faithfully in their own strength. They needed a Helper.

Jesus promised many times that, once He had ascended to the Father, He would send a “Helper” to them-the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26). In fact, He told them that it was for their good that He was going away so that the Holy Spirit could come (John 16:7). The Holy Spirit indwells the heart of every believer (Galatians 2:20; Romans 8:16; Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20). Jesus warned His followers that they were not to begin testifying of Him “until you have been clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4). When the Holy Spirit came upon those first believers at Pentecost, they suddenly had all the power they needed to follow Christ, even to the death, if needed (Acts 2:1-4; 4:31; 7:59-60).

Following Jesus means striving to be like Him. He always obeyed His Father, so that’s what we strive to do (John 8:29; 15:10). To truly follow Christ means to make Him the Boss. That’s what it means to make Jesus Lord of our lives (Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 4:5). Every decision and dream is filtered through His Word with the goal of glorifying Him in everything (1 Corinthians 10:31). We are not saved by the things we do for Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9) but by what He has done for us. Because of His grace, we want to please Him in everything. All this is accomplished as we allow the Holy Spirit to have complete control of every area of our lives (Ephesians 5:18). He explains the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 2:14), empowers us with spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4-11), comforts us (John 14:16), and guides us (John 14:26). To follow Christ means we apply the truths we learn from His Word and live as if Jesus walked beside us in person.

See http://www.gotquestions.org/follow-Christ.html

What should we learn from the life of Peter?

By S. Michael Houdmann, Supporter of Got Questions Ministries

Simon Peter, also known as Cephas (John 1:42), was one of the first followers of Jesus Christ. He was an outspoken and ardent disciple, one of Jesus’ closest friends, an apostle, and a “pillar” of the church (Galatians 2:9). Peter was enthusiastic, strong-willed, impulsive, and, at times, brash. But for all his strengths, Peter had several failings in his life. Still, the Lord who chose him continued to mold him into exactly who He intended Peter to be.

Simon was originally from Bethsaida (John 1:44) and lived in Capernaum (Mark 1:29), both cities on the coast of the Sea of Galilee. He was married (1 Corinthians 9:5), and he and James and John were partners in a profitable fishing business (Luke 5:10). Simon met Jesus through his brother Andrew, who had followed Jesus after hearing John the Baptist proclaim that Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:35-36). Andrew immediately went to find his brother to bring him to Jesus. Upon meeting Simon, Jesus gave him a new name: Cephas (Aramaic) or Peter (Greek), which means “rock” (John 1:40-42). Later, Jesus officially called Peter to follow Him, producing a miraculous catch of fish (Luke 5:1-7). Immediately, Peter left everything behind to follow the Lord (verse 11).

For the next three years, Peter lived as a disciple of the Lord Jesus. Being a natural-born leader, Peter became the de facto spokesman for the Twelve (Matthew 15:15; 18:21; 19:27; Mark 11:21; Luke 8:45; 12:41; John 6:68; 13:6-9, 36). More significantly, it was Peter who first confessed Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” a truth which Jesus said was divinely revealed to Peter (Matthew 16:16-17).

Peter was part of the inner circle of Jesus’ disciples, along with James and John. Only those three were present when Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus (Mark 5:37) and when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain (Matthew 17:1). Peter and John were given the special task of preparing the final Passover meal (Luke 22:8).

In several instances, Peter showed himself to be impetuous to the point of rashness. For example, it was Peter who left the boat to walk on the water to Jesus (Matthew 14:28-29)-and promptly took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink (verse 30). It was Peter who took Jesus aside to rebuke Him for speaking of His death (Matthew 16:22)-and was swiftly corrected by the Lord (verse 23). It was Peter who suggested erecting three tabernacles to honor Moses, Elijah, and Jesus (Matthew 17:4)-and fell to the ground in fearful silence at God’s glory (verses 5-6). It was Peter who drew his sword and attacked the servant of the high priest (John 18:10)-and was immediately told to sheath his weapon (verse 11). It was Peter who boasted that he would never forsake the Lord, even if everyone else did (Matthew 26:33)-and later denied three times that he even knew the Lord (verses 70-74).

Through all of Peter’s ups and downs, the Lord Jesus remained his loving Lord and faithful Guide. Jesus reaffirmed Simon as Peter, the “Rock,” in Matthew 16:18-19, promising that he would be instrumental in establishing Jesus’ Church. After His resurrection, Jesus specifically named Peter as one who needed to hear the good news (Mark 16:7). And, repeating the miracle of the large catch of fish, Jesus made a special point of forgiving and restoring Peter and re-commissioning him as an apostle (John 21:6, 15-17).

On the day of Pentecost, Peter was the main speaker to the crowd in Jerusalem (Acts 2:14), and the Church began with an influx of about 3,000 new believers (verse 41). Later, Peter healed a lame beggar (Acts 3) and preached boldly before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4). Even arrest, beatings, and threats could not dampen Peter’s resolve to preach the risen Christ (Acts 5).

Jesus’ promise that Peter would be foundational in building the Church was fulfilled in three stages: Peter preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Then, he was present when the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8). Finally, he was summoned to the home of the Roman centurion Cornelius, who also believed and received the Holy Spirit (Acts 10). In this way, Peter “unlocked” three different worlds and opened the door of the Church to Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles.

Even as an apostle, Peter experienced some growing pains. At first, he had resisted taking the gospel to Cornelius, a Gentile. However, when he saw the Romans receive the Holy Spirit in the same manner he had, Peter concluded that “God does not show favoritism” (Acts 10:34). After that, Peter strongly defended the Gentiles’ position as believers and was adamant that they did not need to conform to Jewish law (Acts 15:7-11).

Another episode of growth in Peter’s life concerns his visit to Antioch, where he enjoyed the fellowship of Gentile believers. However, when some legalistic Jews arrived in Antioch, Peter, to appease them, withdrew from the Gentile Christians. The Apostle Paul saw this as hypocrisy and called it such to Peter’s face (Galatians 2:11-14).

Later in life, Peter spent time with John Mark (1 Peter 5:13), who wrote the gospel of Mark based on Peter’s remembrances of his time with Jesus. Peter wrote two inspired epistles, 1 and 2 Peter, between A.D. 60 and 68. Jesus said that Peter would die a martyr’s death (John 21:18-19-a prophecy fulfilled, presumably, during Nero’s reign. Tradition has it that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome, and, although such the story may be true, there is no scriptural or historical witness to the particulars of Peter’s death.

What can we learn from Peter’s life? Here are a few lessons:

Jesus overcomes fear. Whether stepping out of a boat onto a tossing sea or stepping across the threshold of a Gentile home for the first time, Peter found courage in following Christ. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18).

Jesus forgives unfaithfulness. After he had boasted of his fidelity, Peter fervently denied the Lord three times. It seemed that Peter had burned his bridges, but Jesus lovingly rebuilt them and restored Peter to service. Peter was a former failure, but, with Jesus, failure is not the end. “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13).

Jesus patiently teaches. Over and over, Peter needed correction, and the Lord gave it with patience, firmness, and love. The Master Teacher looks for students willing to learn. “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go” (Psalm 32:8).

Jesus sees us as He intends us to be. The very first time they met, Jesus called Simon “Peter.” The rough and reckless fisherman was, in Jesus’ eyes, a firm and faithful rock. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

Jesus uses unlikely heroes. Peter was a fisherman from Galilee, but Jesus called him to be a fisher of men (Luke 5:10). Because Peter was willing to leave all he had to follow Jesus, God used him in great ways. As Peter preached, people were amazed at his boldness because he was “unschooled” and “ordinary.” But then they took note that Peter “had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). Being with Jesus makes all the difference.

See http://www.gotquestions.org/life-Peter.html

Bible Study “in the Valley”

An encouraging post for those who feel they are going through a dry spell spiritually with the Lord. As another reader posted:

“Who is among you that feareth the Lord,
that obeyeth the voice of his servant,
that walketh in darkness, and hath no light?
let him trust in the name of the Lord,
and stay upon his God.”
(Isaiah 50:10)

What is the importance of the empty tomb?

By S. Michael Houdmann: Supporter of Got Questions Ministries

From the earliest apostolic period, the reality of the empty tomb-the biblical truth that the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth was found empty by His disciples-has been at the center of the Christian proclamation. All four Gospels describe, to varying degrees, the circumstances surrounding the discovery of the empty tomb (Matthew 28:1-6; Mark 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-12). But are there any good reasons to think that these claims are historically accurate? Could a fair-minded investigator conclude that, in all probability, Jesus’ tomb was found empty on that first Easter morning? There are several arguments that have convinced a good many historians that the tomb in which Jesus was buried was indeed found empty on the Sunday following His crucifixion.

First, the location of Jesus’ tomb would have been known to Christians and non-Christians alike. While it is true that most victims of crucifixion were either thrown in a graveyard reserved for common criminals or simply left on the cross for birds and other scavengers to feed upon, the case of Jesus was different. The historical record indicates that Jesus was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin, the very group that had orchestrated Jesus’ execution. Many skeptical New Testament scholars have been convinced that Jesus’ burial by Joseph of Arimathea is unlikely to have been a Christian fabrication. Given the understandable hostility of the earliest Christians toward the Sanhedrin, whom they felt were largely responsible for their Master’s death, it is unlikely that Jesus’ followers would have invented a tradition about a member of the Sanhedrin using his own tomb to provide Jesus with a respectable burial.

In addition, recent archaeological discoveries have demonstrated that the style of tomb described in the burial accounts in the Gospels (an acrosolia or bench tomb) was largely used by the wealthy and other people of prominence. Such a description fits nicely with what we know of Joseph of Arimathea. Moreover, when we couple these considerations with the fact that Arimathea was a town of little importance that lacked any type of scriptural symbolism and that no competing burial tradition exists, any serious doubt that Jesus was buried in Joseph’s tomb is eliminated.

The significance of these facts should not be overlooked as the Sanhedrin would then have certainly known the location of Joseph’s tomb, and thus, where Jesus had been interred. And if the location of Jesus’ tomb was known to the Jewish authorities, it would have been nearly impossible for the Christian movement to have gained any traction in Jerusalem, the very city where Jesus was known to have been buried. Would not any of the Jewish religious leaders have taken the short walk to Joseph’s tomb to verify this claim? Did not the Sanhedrin have every motivation to produce Jesus’ corpse (if it were available) and put an end to these rumors of a resurrected Jesus once and for all? The fact that Christianity began to gain converts in Jerusalem tells us that no corpse had been produced despite the Jewish religious leadership having every motivation to produce one. If Jesus’ crucified body had been produced, the Christian movement, with its emphasis on a resurrected Jesus, would have been dealt a lethal blow.

Second, the empty tomb is implied in the early oral formula quoted by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. While all four Gospels attest to the vacancy of Jesus’ tomb, our earliest hint at the empty tomb comes from the Apostle Paul. Writing to the church at Corinth in approximately AD 55, Paul quotes an oral formula (or creed) that most scholars believe he received from the apostles Peter and James just five years after Jesus’ crucifixion (Galatians 1:18-19). Paul states, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve” (1 Corinthians 15:3-5). When Paul writes “…that he was buried, that he was raised…” it is strongly implied (given Paul’s Pharisaical background) that the tomb in which Jesus was buried was empty. For a Pharisee like Paul, what goes down in burial comes up in resurrection. Given that Paul’s source for this creed was most likely the Jerusalem apostles and their proximity to the events in question, Paul’s citation of this oral formula provides strong evidence that Jesus’ tomb had been found empty and that this fact was widely known in the early Christian community. The oft-repeated objection that Paul was unaware of an empty tomb is answered when we see that elsewhere Paul taught that Jesus’ resurrection was bodily in nature (Romans 8:11; Philippians 3:21). For Paul, a resurrection that did not produce a vacant tomb would have been a contradiction in terms.

Third, there appears to be strong enemy attestation of the existence of an empty tomb. The first of these comes from within the pages of the Gospel of Matthew itself where Matthew reports that there was an acknowledgment of the empty tomb by the Jewish leaders themselves (Matthew 28:13-15). They were claiming that the disciples had come and stolen away Jesus’ body. Given the proximity of the writing of Matthew’s Gospel to the event in question, such a claim would have been easy to disprove if untrue. For if Matthew were lying, his report of the Jewish response to the empty tomb proclamation could have easily been discredited as many of the contemporaries of the events in question would still have been alive when Matthew’s Gospel was initially circulating. But why would they accuse the disciples of stealing Jesus’ body if the tomb still contained the dead body of Jesus? The counter-accusation made by the Jews presupposes that the tomb was empty.

That the Jews accused the disciples of stealing Jesus’ body is corroborated by the Christian apologist Justin Martyr in the middle of the second century (Dialogue with Trypho, 108) and then again around AD 200 by the church father Tertullian (De Spectaculis, 30). Both Justin and Tertullian were interacting with the Jewish debaters of their day and were in a position to know what it was their Jewish opponents were saying. They were not simply relying on Matthew’s Gospel for their information. For both Justin and Tertullian mention specific details not found in the Gospel of Matthew. In fact, all three of these writers cite details not mentioned by the others. Based on these considerations, it appears that there was an early Jewish acknowledgement of an empty tomb.

Fourth, all four Gospels report that the tomb of Jesus was discovered empty by women. This point is especially significant given the patriarchal nature of first-century Palestine. While it is true that, under very limited circumstances, women were allowed to testify in a court of law, it is also the case that, in first-century Jewish society, a woman’s testimony was worth far less than that of a man. If you were making up a story in an attempt to persuade others that Jesus had been resurrected, you would never have used women as your primary witnesses. Any made-up story would have featured male disciples like Peter, John, or Andrew as the discoverers of the empty tomb, as the testimony of men would have provided much-needed credibility to the story.

Yet the Gospels report that, while Jesus’ male disciples were cowering in fear, hiding from the authorities, it was women who were the earliest witnesses of the empty tomb. There would simply be no reason for the early church to concoct such a scenario unless it was true. Why would the early Christians portray their male leadership as cowards and place females in the role of primary witnesses? One of these named female witnesses (Mary Magdalene) was said to have been possessed of seven devils earlier in her life, thus making her an even less reliable witness in the eyes of many. And yet, despite these evidential handicaps, the earliest Christians insisted that the first witnesses to the empty tomb were, in fact, women. The most likely explanation of this insistence is that these women were the initial witness of the empty tomb and that the earliest Christians were unwilling to lie about it despite its potentially embarrassing nature.

All four of these arguments help to provide cumulative proof that the tomb of Jesus Christ was empty on the first Easter. Particularly telling is the conclusion of historian Michael Grant, himself a skeptic of Jesus’ resurrection, “…if we apply the same sort of criteria that we would apply to any other ancient literary sources, then the evidence is firm and plausible enough to necessitate the conclusion that the tomb was, indeed, found empty.”

Of course, there is more to the story than merely an empty tomb. The reason the tomb was found empty was that the man who was buried there had risen from the dead. Jesus would not only vacate His grave but appear to numerous people individually (Luke 24:34) and in groups (Matthew 28:9; John 20:26-30; 21:1-14; Acts 1:3-6; 1 Corinthians 15:3-7). And His resurrection from the dead would be the sure proof that He was who He claimed to be (Matthew 12:38-40; 16:1-4)-the risen Son of God, our only hope of salvation.

See http://www.gotquestions.org/empty-tomb.html

10 virtues of the Proverbs 31 woman

From: http://avirtuouswoman.org/10-virtues-of-the-proverbs-31-woman/

Here at A Virtuous Woman, I want to encourage women to serve God in every aspect of their lives. Being a Proverbs 31 woman is not about being “perfect.” It’s about living life with purpose, diligence, forgiveness, and repentance.

THE PROVERBS 31 WOMAN TODAY

Often women believe that Proverbs 31 doesn’t really apply to our modern lives. Here at A Virtuous Woman, we believe that God’s Word stands the test of time. I wrote the 10 Virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman as the mission statement for A Virtuous Woman, but soon realized that it was more than a mission statement. The 10 Virtues of the Proverbs 31 Woman demonstrates how, as Christian women today, we can all be Proverbs 31 Women.

THE 10 VIRTUES OF THE PROVERBS 31 WOMAN

1. Faith – A Virtuous Woman serves God with all of her heart, mind, and soul. She seeks His will for her life and follows His ways. (Proverbs 31: 26, Proverbs 31: 29 – 31, Matthew 22: 37, John 14: 15, Psalm 119: 15)

2. Marriage – A Virtuous Woman respects her husband. She does him good all the days of her life. She is trustworthy and a helpmeet. (Proverbs 31: 11- 12, Proverbs 31: 23, Proverbs 31: 28, 1 Peter 3, Ephesians 5, Genesis 2: 18)\

3. Mothering – A Virtuous Woman teaches her children the ways of her Father in heaven. She nurtures her children with the love of Christ, disciplines them with care and wisdom, and trains them in the way they should go. (Proverbs 31: 28, Proverbs 31: 26, Proverbs 22: 6, Deuteronomy 6, Luke 18: 16)

4. Health – A Virtuous Woman cares for her body. She prepares healthy food for her family. (Proverbs 31: 14 – 15, Proverbs 31: 17, 1 Corinthians 6: 19, Genesis 1: 29, Daniel 1, Leviticus 11)

5. Service – A Virtuous Woman serves her husband, her family, her friends, and her neighbors with a gentle and loving spirit. She is charitable. (Proverbs 31: 12, Proverbs 31: 15, Proverbs 31: 20, 1 Corinthians 13: 13)

6. Finances – A Virtuous Woman spends money wisely. She is careful to purchase quality items which her family needs. (Proverbs 31: 14, Proverbs 31: 16, Proverbs 31: 18, 1 Timothy 6: 10, Ephesians 5: 23, Deuteronomy 14: 22, Numbers 18: 26)

7. Industry – A Virtuous Woman works willingly with her hands. She sings praises to God and does not grumble while completing her tasks. (Proverbs 31: 13, Proverbs 31: 16, Proverbs 31: 24, Proverbs 31: 31, Philippians 2: 14)

8. Homemaking – A Virtuous Woman is a homemaker. She creates an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for her family and guests. She uses hospitality to minister to those around her. (Proverbs 31: 15, Proverbs 31: 20 – 22, Proverbs 31: 27, Titus 2: 5, 1 Peter 4: 9, Hebrews 13: 2)

9. Time – A Virtuous Woman uses her time wisely. She works diligently to complete her daily tasks. She does not spend time dwelling on those things that do not please the Lord. (Proverbs 31: 13, Proverbs 31: 19, Proverbs 31: 27, Ecclesiastes 3, Proverbs 16: 9, Philippians 4:8)

10. Beauty – A Virtuous Woman is a woman of worth and beauty. She has the inner beauty that only comes from Christ. She uses her creativity and sense of style to create beauty in her life and the lives of her loved ones. (Proverbs 31: 10Proverbs 31: 21 – 22, Proverbs 31: 24 -25, Isaiah 61: 10, 1 Timothy 2: 9, 1 Peter 3: 1 – 6)

The Believer’s Relationship to the Mosaic Covenant

At the Blue Letter Bible, we consistently receive questions on tithing, on which, if any, of the often “strange” Levitical laws (e.g., Do not weave two kinds of fabric together) apply to the believer today, on when to celebrate Old Testament feast days, et cetera. These are all questions borne out of an inadequate understanding of the agreement made between God and Moses on Mount Sinai.

Properly understanding the covenants and their importance seems to be one of the most eluding pieces of theology for the modern believer. The Mosaic Covenant was directed specifically toward the nation of Israel and was concerned in its chiefest aspect with Israel’s inheritance of and blessing in the land of Canaan—the Promised Land. The laws that attended this covenant, while revealing God’s desire for this nation to be set apart from all others as an example, do not necessarily give us any perfect basis for understanding morality. This may seem to be a strange statement. But we ask you to consider the following points.

Much of the time when people discuss the “Law,” they are thinking primarily of the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments). However, the Law, (i.e., the Mosaic Covenant) contained several hundreds of commandments. Many of which today are not even possible to follow, due to the lack of a Jewish Temple. Yet, biblical morality is not affected by this situation. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus seemingly expanded the understanding of the Ten Commandments. Rather than just stating that we should not murder, He told us that if we called our brother a “fool,” it was the same as committing murder. So the Ten Commandments were not all encompassing as to morality.

The real question then presents itself, “What responsibility does the believer owe to the Mosaic Covenant?”

While the law is good (1 Tim 1:8), it is unable to justify (Gal 2:16). Under the “New Covenant,” Christ is our fulfillment of the law (Mat 5:17). Therefore, as to the question of what responsibility does the New Covenant believer owe to the Mosaic Covenant, the answer is “nothing” for the purposes of salvation (Gal 3:1-3). Some of the standards iterated from God through Moses upon Sinai were directed at the nation of Israel simply as the terms of a contract for possession of a certain portion of land. Deuteronomy 28 makes clear the stipulations of this covenant; essentially God would bless Israel for obedience by granting great prosperity in the land but curse Israel for its disobedience with all manner of catastrophe culminating in the loss of Canaan. Despite God’s long-suffering, Israel fails to uphold her portion of the covenant and reaps the curses God promised — climaxing in the Babylonian capture in the Seventh Century B.C.

The Law (both the covenantal and the universal, Ten Commandment aspects of it) now serves to lead mankind to understand his corruption. Just as Israel, a nation born of the fruit of God’s own grace, could not stand under the righteous requirements of the Mosaic Law, neither can any man stand under the condemnation of God’s universal requirement—absolute obedience of mind and action. Paul speaks of the Law as one who leads us step by step to grace, for it points out our dire need of such (cf. Galatians 3:23ff). And having taken hold of grace by faith, the believer no longer heeds the condemning beckon of the Law (cf. Romans). So then, is there any reason to look to the Levitical laws for ethical guidance unto righteousness? No — for their service now is to guide men to Christ (Galatians 3:24).

What then? Is this freedom merely for the believing Gentile? Or does the believer of Jewish decent likewise bear this liberty? As certainly as the Jewish believer holds to Christ is his freedom from the Mosaic Law assured. The chief redemptive aspect of the Mosaic Covenant has been fulfilled by Christ. The blood of bulls and goats is useless and perfectly replaced by the sacrifice of the one Son of God Himself; to return to the Mosaic Law is to deny the sacrifice of Christ. This was the impetus driving the apostles as they stood against the Judaizers (those who were requiring believers in Christ to bear up under the Mosaic Law) proclaiming, “Beware the dogs, the evildoers, the mutilation.”

Where then do we find our Christian ethic? Quite simply, in Christ’s words: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength and you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31). If we follow Christ’s command, we cannot break any aspect of the Ten Commandments, nor any aspect of God’s morality. And we find extrapolation of these ultimate commands in all the writings of the New Testament authors. That is our ethic—and it is borne by our faith in and love for Christ rather than from our fear of breaking the law.

This post was taken from: https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/mosaic_cov.cfm

I trust you found it edifying.

No healing from demons – a fallen church in Noble Park

Last Sunday night I went with dear Christian friends to a healing church in Noble Park. Below is an email I sent one of my friends after the experience. I pray that you find this edifying too:

Dear (Friend),

Sorry, I sent the above in error without finishing the scripture references. Take two:

I came across an interesting article that I thought I’d share with you:

http://www.gotquestions.org/Toronto-blessing.html

Basically, my faith from what I’ve read in the Bible is that the Spirit of Truth leads us into all truth and testifies to us of Jesus of Nazareth, that people might be saved.
To testify of Jesus, He must use His words, as per the scriptures below:

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”
(John 16:13)

“in whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise…”
(Ephesians 1:13)

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)

“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
(Mark 8:38)

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
(John 15:7)

I believe what the article is saying is that a spiritual experience which is almost totally divorced from the Word of God is questionable and may be of the devil. How can we know if something is truly of God if we can’t see what is behind it? Yet we have His words to guide us as to His ordered, peaceful character and His mercy.
Hence the warning to “try the spirits” whether they be of God:

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1 John 4)

Last night at the healing church the preacher prayed over everyone in the room to be healed, regardless of what their affliction was. I must testify truly that I was not delivered from demons, they continued to assault and harass me during the service. Yet I was open to being healed if the experience was truly from God. Did you notice virtually nothing of the word of God was preached? And that some people looked almost drunk during the service, shaking their heads around uncontrollably after they’d been prayed for? Also, I noticed some people said they continued to have pain in spite of being healed, then changed their minds and agreed with the pastor when he insisted that they must have been cured. At least one woman needed to be prayed over twice before healing could be given to all parts of her body that needed it. If this was truly from God, healing would have been done simply and without fanfare to all parts of her body that needed it, without her having to tell the preacher. The Holy Spirit of Truth would have worked through him and let him know what needed to be done.

My church as I’ve said before preaches the word of God mostly in truth but they are on the opposite end of the scale. They don’t believe that believers can lay hands on the sick or cast out demons, as Jesus promised we should be able to do in Mark 16, hence they have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5). We are told to turn away from such people and not follow them as they may not be saved at all. Or, if they are saved, they have large areas of unbelief in their faith. Either situation is not good and of no help to someone who desperately needs deliverance and salvation, like me. I have been prayed for by my church and – again – no relief has been given me from demons and I know I am not yet saved. I am just being drawn ever more closely to Jesus of Nazareth by the Father so I continue to have great hope.

Having been prayed for by hundreds of people around the globe, with no deliverance from demons and no salvation (just a genuine repentance and drawing to God), I can testify that I truly believe the Lord when He said few people are truly born-again, so few stand on the Word of God in the power of the true Holy Spirit:

“Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, 24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. 25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: 26 then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. 27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.” (Luke 13:23-27)

Some food for thought. See you tonight at the board games meet up. I’m looking forward to it. 🙂

God bless.
Naomi

Creation: A Key to the Gospel

This seminar was delivered by Dr Don Batten on 21/05/2016. This article is from notes I made so is not completely in keeping with what Dr Batten said though I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references have been taken from the Geneva Bible, published in 1599. The Geneva Bible is a little-known translation that was a beautiful precursor to today’s King James Bible. Highly recommended if you want to check it out, especially for the godly footnotes.

The heaven and the earth as created by God in Genesis 1:1

The evolution of a humanist mindset

Genesis 1:1, which is a Biblical Creationist’s manifesto, reads:

In the [b]beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Is that what people believe today? Sadly, no, it is not. We allegedly made ourselves, with a popular explanation of our origins being the big bang theory. This theory predominates among mass media outlets today such as ABC TV, channels 7 and 9…and people become slowly but surely convinced that this is the truth. A good exposition of the evolutionary worldview was given by Sir Julian Huxley, who stated:

“In the evolutionary pattern of thought there is no longer either need or room for the supernatural. The earth was not created: it evolved. So did all the animals and plants that inhabit it, including our human selves, mind and soul as well as brain and body. So did religion.” (Essays of a Humanist, pp. 82–83, Penguin Books, UK, 1964 (1969 reprint)).

So in Sir Julian’s eyes, even religion “made itself” (quotes mine). What was actually evolving, however, was the humanist mindset.

Consequences of a humanist mindset in schools

Prior to 1962, there was no teaching of evolution in schools. In the 1960’s, in fact, most children went to church, attended Sunday school programs, and therefore had some knowledge of God. When Billy Graham visited Australia and preached that people were sinners who needed to repent and believe the gospel there was a huge response – as indicated a huge reduction in attendance at pubs and nightclubs.

Fast-forward to today. Victoria’s premier, Daniel Andrews, of the Australian Labour Party, is an atheist who has decided that scripture will no longer be taught in schools. This is where our nation is going, unfortunately.

We might argue that the above doesn’t matter as adults are free to choose Christianity once they leave school. The first point to make in response to this is that going to church doesn’t make you a Christian. Being submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ is how one becomes saved in the first place: church attendance and prayer without saving faith just will not do. Yet church attendance for the saved is still important. As the old saying goes, if you take a coal out of the fire it loses its heat. You don’t stop believing but drift away spiritually and become lukewarm. Thankfully for us you can’t turn your back on something God has shown you to be true.

The second point is that most twenty-somethings put Christianity on the shelf following their spiritually active teen years (George Barna Group, September 11, 2006). Why is this? The common factor seems to be that around the age of 16 (year 10), most are taught the evolutionary worldview in depth in science classes. And this worldview destroys faith as it seems to contradict the Bible in many instances. This is where we start to lose kids spiritually.

The need for a creationist worldview

The creationist doesn’t just believe theological things about God. What we believe in God’s Word can be shown to be matched by God’s world. As 2 Corinthians 10:5 states, we are to bring others to this knowledge that they might be saved too, simply by:

Casting down the imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, [a]and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,

We are commanded to teach others how faith relates to the world around us. And the theory that everything made itself, the big bang theory, opposes God and we are to demolish these arguments. This is not a side issue, it’s fundamental to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Our ministry, therefore, is fundamental to people learning the truth about God and being saved. If our ministry wasn’t about the gospel, I wouldn’t be involved.

Sadly, if you tell people today that they are sinners who need to repent, you don’t get the response we got in the 1960’s. The world is more wicked today, teaching such alleged truisms as “science disproves the Bible.” Our street preachers need CMI (Creation Ministries International). I could tell you many stories about people coming to faith through our Creation Magazine, for example.

Consequences of an evolutionary worldview

It helps here to consider that historical (forensic) science has three main features concerning an event:

  1. Not observable
  2. Not repeatable
  3. Can’t do experiments to either prove or disprove the event

Operational (experimental) science contrasts with the above. In general, history studies the unrepeatable whereas science aims to study the repeatable.

Unfortunately, an evolutionary mindset indoctrinates students to a particular view of historical science and can impede operational science. An example of the latter concerns the belief that certain segments of DNA are “junk” DNA. It was later found that at least some of these sections are not redundant at all but are rather the source of some cancers. Others may have other functions, as outlined in an interesting article by Linda K Walkup: http://creation.com/junk-dna-evolutionary-discards-or-gods-tools

Is there any evidence for creationism in the world around us?

Archaeology

The Biblical account of creation states that on day six both land animals and man were created (see Genesis 1:24-31). If this is so, we would expect dinosaurs and people to have lived together. Do we have any evidence of this? Actually we do. There is abundant evidence from art around the world such as sculptures, paintings and tapestries. One interesting example concerns an ancient Mesopotamian cylinder seal that was found in modern-day Iraq. It appears to depict a dinosaur-like creature, possibly a tanystropheus (see image below):

A helpful article discussing more examples of “snake dragons” depicted in artwork throughout human history, can be found here:
http://creation.com/mesopotamian-monsters-in-paris

Zoology

Galapagos Finches

Charles Darwin first noticed that different species of finches on the Galapagos Islands have variations in beak size and structure, which he posited was due to natural selection. While he correctly observed natural selection in play, it is important to realize that variation within a kind according to seasonal conditions, etc. does not prove macro-evolution (change from one kind to another). To state that it does is to indulge in equivocation or bait-and-switch, a logical fallacy whereby the acceptance of one premise by a person is falsely stated to indicate acceptance of another, more serious premise.

Furthermore, as Jean K Lightner theorises, observed variety in beaks due to natural selection does not explain the origin of the beaks themselves. The following article from her explores this:
http://creation.com/finch-beaks

Paleontology

The Fossil Record
Paleontology is the study of the history of life on Earth as reflected in the fossil record. Fossils are the remains or traces of organisms (plants, animals, fungi, bacteria and other single-celled living things) that lived in the geological past and are preserved in the crust of the Earth.

It is interesting to learn that there is no evidence in the fossil record either for jumps from one kind of organism to another. As such, scientists now talk about DNA “proving” evolution, leaving the fossil record with its alleged common ancestors alone.

An example of spurious reasoning from flimsy fossil evidence can be found by considering Ardipithecus Ramidus Kadabba, a supposed common ancestor of man. This ancestor was identified and classified based merely upon a single toe bone (Times Magazine cover story, 23rd July, 2001).

Dr Mary Schweitzer’s dangerous discovery
A further shocking discovery confounding evolutionists was made by paleontologist Dr Mary Schweitzer and reported on by Science 307 in March 2005. This was her observation of fresh tissue in a T-Rex femur sample (see image below):

T-Rex tissue sample by Dr Mary Schweitzer

A close examination of image A above shows what clearly seems to be elastic tissue, contradicting evolutionist’s theories that the sample had survived for over 65 million years. Image B shows another instance of “fresh appearance” which similarly makes it hard to believe in the “millions of years” theory. Finally, image C shows regions of bone where the fibrous structure is still present, compared to most fossil bones which lack this structure. These bones are claimed to be million of years old, yet they manage to retain this structure?

More on Dr Schweitzer’s discovery can be found here:
http://creation.com/schweitzers-dangerous-discovery

Carbon Dating

Because carbon 14 decays so quickly, we can logically infer that if any is still present in a rock sample, it can’t be millions of years old. So evolutionists cannot use this technique to accurately time-clock the age of the earth. More on this here:

http://creation.com/diamonds-a-creationists-best-friend

Genetics

Mutations
It is logical to state that you must add stacks more information to the DNA of a microbe to change it into a horse. To change it into a human being, a creature of far greater complexity, even more information must be added. Where does this information come from?

The most likely explanation is that it comes from mutations, accidental mistakes from one generation to another. These can also be simply viewed as copying mistakes when the DNA of cells are replicated. This is the only way evolutionists can explain their theory of information being added from one generation to the next.

However, there is a problem with the above. We would expect such copying accidents to mess up the information that is being copied. And this is in fact what we see in many examples of mutant creatures such as the TNR rooster, a poor creature which has no feathers:
TNR rooster, a mutant with no feathers

Mutations are in almost all cases deleterious to an organism being replicated, causing a net negative effect by loss or corruption of information. This fact is often not explained in schools, sadly, with mutations being trumped as the mechanism by which evolution can explain away the God of the Bible.

It is interesting to reflect that nowhere do we see websites proclaiming our gradual evolution into super-humans such as X-Men. Rather, we see sites devoted to the outlining of mutations that cause disease and disability in humans such as sickle cell anaemia, hemophilia, cystic fibrosis and hemochromatosis. We can generalise from this and say then that inherited diseases are caused by mutations in DNA.

Kinesin
We will next consider a sophisticated cellular transport mechanism that is present in complex cells such as ours (eukaryotic) but not in simple ones like microbes. This mechanism is called kinesin, which can be thought of as similar to a docker who loads and unloads packages from ships. The parcel carried by the kinesin in complex cells is packaged up in the golgi apparatus of the cell. The golgi reads the address label contained on the package then sends it to its destination in the cell via kinesin. One example of a package that might be transported is protein, which would be processed by mitochondria in the cell after being sent from the golgi.

Interestingly, as stated above, microbes appear to lack kinesin. How is it then that more complex cells contain it, given that we have just seen that DNA mutations required to produce kinesin cause a net loss of information, rather than a gain? The kinesin is a sophisicated cellular machinery pointing to an intelligent Creator who made everything. More on this topic can be explored by referencing this article:
http://creation.com/incredible-kinesin

Conclusion

Natural selection is not the same as evolution (which could be either big jumps in time or gradual change over time from one kind of creature to another). It doesn’t create information. And mutations don’t create information either. Evolution is therefore an impossible process.

Yet evolution is held onto in schools because of its religious implications. If evolution can be proven to have started and maintained the world around us, then we have true freedom from God. If there is no design, and no Designer, we can live life according to our own terms. This is clearly an appealing prospect for groups in the USA such as FFR.org (Freedom From Religion). They are focused on indoctrinating people away from the God of the Bible towards Darwinism. Should we praise Darwin (see below)? For the faithful, thinking Christian, clearly the answer is no:

FFR.org's praise Darwin billboard campaign

This is not a side issue. It’s fundamental to our faith and to the gospel. All of God’s Word is relevant and true and to be defended, with the New Testament writers (including our Lord) clearly indicating that they followed and believed the Old Testament scriptures including Genesis. We are called to engage with these issues with our mind as well as our heart. As it is written:

37 Jesus said to him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, with all thy [a]soul, and with all thy mind. (Matthew 22:37)

Is there evidence for a global flood?

The Fossil Record

With eyes open only to the theory of evolution, the fossil record appears to show suffering and death that occurred over millions of years. Yet the Bible says that God pronounced creation to be “very good” on day six, after man and land animals were created:

31 And God saw all that he had made, and lo, it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31)

The two perspectives clearly don’t harmonise. In 1 Corinthians 15:45, the last Adam (Christ) is clearly connected with the first:

45 [a]As it is also written, The [b]first man Adam was made a living soul: and the last Adam was made a [c]quickening spirit.

If the first Adam spoken of in Genesis was not a real person, then there was no need at all for Jesus Christ to die on the cross.

With eyes open to the gospel of Jesus Christ, however, the fossil record can be viewed in an alternative fashion, as a mass kill graveyard and evidence of a worldwide flood. The fossils we see then, embedded in horizontal layers that were laid down quickly and catastrophically (as we will discuss later), are evidence of death and suffering due to sin.

Adam and Eve rebelled against God in Genesis 3, then were cursed. By Genesis 6, the depravity of man had become so intractable that God pronounced judgement on the entire world and sought to cleanse it by water. Only Noah and his family, with representatives of all the major land animal kinds on earth (only the major kinds were needed, as these could genetically diversify again once the flood was over), were spared.

A Landmark Reference Book

So we can see that death and suffering, evidenced by the fossil record, was not the original order of God, who created everything to be good and perfect. We also understand that the Biblical flood is the key to understanding earth’s history. A landmark reference book for creationists is “The Genesis Flood” by Henry Morris and John C Whitcomb:

The Genesis Flood by Henry Morris and John C Whitcomb

The book ably defends the premise that Noah’s flood was real, pointing out that Noah would not have bothered to build a boat to escape a local flood, he would merely have emigrated to another area. And the boat Noah built had of necessity a great carrying capacity, being described in the Bible as 300 cubits (or approximately 143 meters) long. It had then a total capacity of around 15,000 tonnes. Furthermore, Korean architects showed that its shape would have been highly stable in huge seas.

Is there evidence for catastrophic deposition of earth’s layers?

The Grand Canyon
In the diagram below, the Kiabab Upwarp clearly shows layers of the Grand Canyon bending at the same physical point across allegedly millions of years of time. How can this be? A more sensible explanation is that the layers were soft when bent so that they didn’t fracture.

The Grand Canyon's Kaibab Upwarp layers

A more in-depth exploration of this phenomenon can be found here:
http://creation.com/grand-canyon-strata-show-geologic-time-is-imaginary

Little Grand Canyon
The existence of this Georgian landmark shows that layers such as those observed in the Grand Canyon can be carved out in very short time periods. We know that a mudflow carved this out in less than one day in 1980. Hence millions of years are not necessarily needed for such formations (see image below):

Little Grand Canyon in Georgia

More information can be found on this here:
http://creation.com/i-got-excited-at-mount-st-helens

Conclusion

There is heaps of evidence for the Bible’s account of a world-wide flood. Our children need to know this. So don’t apologise when evangelising evolutionists. We can trust the Bible’s account of what happened with our very lives and state unequivocally that God’s Word matches God’s world. This is fundamental to sharing the gospel with people, especially in today’s world. As 1 Peter 3:15 reminds us, we are to:

…sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, [b]and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and reverence.

So we are to gently share the evidence that our faith is well founded.

Tools for evangelism

1. Question Evolution tract

CMI have a “question evolution” tract, 15 Questions for Evolutionists, that provides 15 critically important questions that evolutionists cannot adequately answer. The tract contains a QR code which can be scanned by a barcode app on an iPhone or Android phone. Your phone is then taken to the right page on creation.com which answers the questions.

CMI's question evolution tract

The tract can be ordered here:
https://austore.creation.com/15-questions-for-evolutionists

Or you can download your own A4-sized PDF copy for free here, then print off copies:

Click to access 15-questions-for-evolutionists-a4.pdf

The plain letter size can be downloaded here:

Click to access 15-questions-for-evolutionists-letter.pdf

2. Creation Magazine

This beautiful publication is a 56-page full-color family magazine that gives God the glory, refutes evolution, and gives you the answers to defend your faith and uphold the true history of the world found in Genesis. Although written for laypeople, every effort is made to make sure the content is technically accurate so that even experts can rarely fault it. And children look forward to the section written specially for them, in each issue.

You can obtain a copy here:
http://creation.com/creation-magazine

Kindly note that you can also buy digital copies of the magazine, which may be viewed on computer, tablet or mobile phone. These may be shared with up to 5 other people so are great for online witnessing and evangelism. Back issues of the magazine are also available for just $1.00.

3. Journal of Creation

This journal brings you in-depth, peer-reviewed comment, reviews and the latest research findings that relate to origins and the biblical account of Creation, the Flood and the Fall. It covers a wide spectrum of studies, not just science. Powerful articles have appeared on topics such as philosophy, theology, history, archaeology, social sciences and many more. This is a great complement to Creation magazine, providing in-depth material from many experts in their field to satisfy the inquiring mind.

You can obtain a copy here:
http://creation.com/journal-of-creation

4. CMI app

Open Google Playstore or iTunes from your Android or iPhone, then search for Creation Ministries International. The app is free and gives you access to articles, tours and events, Creation Magazine and the Journal of Creation.

5. CMI for mobile

If you have an internet-enabled mobile phone, just type in creation.com or creation.mobi to access a fully functional mobile version of CMI’s website.

6. Infobytes newsletter

Infobytes is a weekly CMI newsletter featuring articles on the front line of the creationism/evolutionism debate.

You can sign up here (it’s free):
http://creation.com/infobytes-signup