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Posts made by Bill Miller
Did you know that SCF has a “Doctrinal Statement?”
Did you know that SCF has a “Doctrinal Statement?”
Every once in awhile, someone will ask us about what we believe about certain theological positions that are found in a variety of denominations, non-denominations around the world. We had such an inquiry this week and would like to share our response:
• What is your take on [a particular theological position]?
We don't try to make any "point" concerning theological systems. Our ministry is focused on presenting and showing others how to apply the Gospel (Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection - 1 Corinthians 15:3-4) to all of life. We believe that the message of the Cross is not merely for salvation, but for all of life. Paul's ministry was evident, and his message was "Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2).
"But we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness," (1 Corinthians 1:23 NKJV)
"O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?" (Galatians 3:1 NKJV)
"But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Galatians 6:14 NKJV)
"Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; (10) that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death," (Philippians 3:8-10 NKJV)
Paul used that Gospel message of the death, burial, and resurrection, and utilized this Gospel to "spinoff" and point to other doctrinal and life application. Look at the book of Romans; Paul points to the death, burial, and resurrection throughout. Paul applies the Cross to sin throughout the whole book. Paul shows what was accomplished in dealing with sin and how to now live as believers. In the light of this Gospel of the Cross and the power of the resurrection, we live.
The Lord has called us to focus this ministry on the application of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, to all of life.
Others are called to focus on other aspects of theology like eschatology, ecclesiology, systematic theology, ordo salutis, etc. But we desire to have only one message, Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
One thing I have personally found, the common bond I have with Christians. All Christians from all sorts of denominations, non-denominations, differing theological perspectives have the Gospel, Jesus' death on the Cross for sins, burial, and resurrection in common. All agree that a person needs to believe and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and the substitutionary death for their sins. We all believe that Jesus was buried and rose on the third day, according to scriptures. We all believe that Jesus was the God/Man and was the only mediator between God and man.
I recently listened to Ravi Zacharias at the Mormon Tabernacle on YouTube. I like listening to Ravi's answers to questions, and he is a wonderful apologist. I was very curious as to what he would say from the pulpit of "a church" that I feel misrepresents the Gospel and the deity of Christ. Without "attacking," he presented an Old Testament history lesson of two kings. One destroyed the nation of Israel (Manasseh – 2 Kings 21), leading the nation into idolatry and another king (the grandson, Josiah – 2 Kings 22-23) who lead the nation back to the Lord and His word. Then Ravi gave an unambiguous presentation of Jesus crucified, pointing the audience to the Cross, challenging the people to read John 14 and consider the person of Jesus Christ. He did this with grace and humility, pointing to the crucified Jesus.
When I keep my focus on the Cross, I can see how many other "doctrinal" issues that do not lead me to the Cross – is foolishness. I don't have to "argue" and point out errors and heresies. No, I need to keep pointing to the Cross and the One who bled and died for me. Then I remind myself that I have been buried with Him and raised with Him. I am a new creature in Christ, I have been crucified with Jesus and am now so in love, that I only want to focus on the crucified Christ. I am learning that all "good" theology will spinoff from a proper understanding of Jesus' death on the Cross, His burial, and resurrection. If I lose sight of the Cross, I will be wandering in a labyrinth of endless dead-end paths that will only "tickle the ears" and lead to destruction. There is no power in "points of theology." The power of the Gospel, (Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection), points me to Himself and there I find that my heart has been changed by the blood that was shed on the Cross.
I trust this is helpful and that you understand what we hold to dearly as our only hope – Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
RE: The Gospel and the Church
@Adam-Hartman Here is a good reference point to start: This is the information found on the Hebrew word: תּוֹלָע tôwlâʻ
Here are some interesting articles in reference to this "worm."
RE: Scary passages
@Luke-Howard You are right on all points. I was thinking about that 4th point a few days ago (but didn't write it out). The Father looks at us through Christ. We "appear" perfect because of the blood. We look at ourselves and see the mess, but the Father looks at us and sees Jesus.
There is one who will always point out "the mess" in our lives: the devil, the accuser of the brethren. "Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. (11) "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." (Revelation 12:10-11 NKJV)
Yes, BUT Jesus... Yes, the accuser is right, I have messed up, I have sinned, BUT Jesus has covered that sin with His blood, and I am no longer condemned (Romans 8:1).
So how do we overcome those accusations? Verse 11 says, by the blood of the Lamb. The blood is our first "go-to" when we are accused of past and current sins. When those accusations come, I remind myself, "I am under the blood of righteousness and have been made righteous by that blood of Jesus."
This response to accusations leads us to the second "go-to," our testimony. That testimony is merely reminding myself (and whoever I might tell) that I am under the blood of Jesus, who died for me and took upon Himself ALL of my sins. I have been buried with Him and have risen with Him as righteous. By faith, I believe Jesus died on the Cross for me, and I am now a new creature in Christ. And a part of our testimony to telling others what Jesus has done.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (18) Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, (19) that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. (21) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NKJV)
And the final "go-to" is not loving our lives to the death. Paul said it this way:
"But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. (8) Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; (10) that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, (11) if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." (Philippians 3:7-11 NKJV)
Whatever we might think was import in our lives, is rubbish in comparison to what we have gained in Christ. Paul held on to this attitude to the very end of his life. "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. (7) I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (8) Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Timothy 4:6-8 NKJV)
RE: Scary passages
@Luke-Howard I appreciate you asking and wrestling with these passages. Let's examine a few more scriptures.
"and come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." (John 5:29 NKJV)
Consider again that those who have been redeemed at the Cross can do good. This comparison in John 5:29 is not some scale of justice that God weighs out the bad vs. good. No, for we would always be wanting and without hope, if it was based merely on our “good deeds.” But by God’s grace, He gave us His Son on the Cross to redeem and purify for Himself a people.
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, (12) teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, (13) looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (14) who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works." (Titus 2:11-14 NKJV)
Those who believe (putting their trust and faith in the finished work of the Cross) are those “special people.” And we will not only be doing good works; we will be zealous for good works to God’s glory.
That “resurrection of life” is for those who believe and have put on the Lord Jesus as their righteousness. The blood that Jesus shed is the only thing that will cleanse and make us whole. It is not by our works, but by grace through faith. We have now become His workmanship for good works in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
We learn to take up that Cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23). It is learning to die daily and live in the shadow of the Cross. Paul continued to have this mindset. "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (21) "I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain." (Galatians 2:20-21 NKJV)
We live with the Cross, being crucified with Christ – and being buried with Christ – and being raised with Christ. In Him, we are free and will be raised up on that last day to the resurrection of life.
Purity Follow-up Lesson 57
My heart rejoiced when I read this answer. This student was in terrible bondage when he first started the Purity Boot Camp course and then continued in the Follow-up course. Listen to the joy and freedom of one who was once in bondage and now has found freedom through the Cross:
Question 2. What has it been like for you to come to the cross and drink in the good news?
I must say it has been refreshing and the statement "our thirst is quenched” is really true.
My thirst for porn is being quenched, it’s not appealing anymore, by God's grace and not any effort of mine.
I don't look of it anymore or scheme ways to gratify my flesh.
The cross is the sole solution and it’s given me liberation to serve God more. I enjoy Him now more than before, and I am very grateful. I've stopped counting the days of freedom. Because I know I’ve been satisfied with Him and He is going to keep me from stumbling or falling.
Notice what he said: "By God's grace and not any effort of mine." and "I've stopped counting the days of freedom." Here is the testimony of a changed heart that has found freedom. "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 8:36 NKJV)
RE: Scary passages
@Luke-Howard This is a great question. I have been pondering this for several days.
As we study the scriptures and look for understanding, we need to make a few assumptions. One is that the scriptures, the Bible, is the Word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Two, we let scripture interpret scripture. We don't just look at a verse without making other verses help us to understand its meaning. (Acts 17:10-11)
So let's read the verse in the context of what Jesus is saying:
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. (25) "Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. (26) "For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, (27) "and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. (28) "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice (29) "and come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." (John 5:24-29 NKJV)
Jesus says that those who hear and believe have passed from death to life. This message is described as being born again (John 1:11-12; 3:3-17). Paul uses the language of becoming a new creature in Christ who has been reconciled with God by Jesus becoming sin for us and those who believe become the righteousness of God in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
What is it that we believe? We believe the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16-17). The Gospel is clearly defined as Jesus' death on the Cross, His burial, and His resurrection on the third day. (1 Corinthians 15:1-6) It is believing that Gospel, Jesus Christ and Him crucified (2 Corinthians 2:2) that is at the heart of our salvation and our sanctification. It is all by God's grace and mercy that He has poured out upon us. It is by faith through grace; we are saved to become God's workmanship for good works. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
This reconciliation happens at the Cross as Jesus, the Lamb of God, takes upon Himself the sins of the world and in turn, the righteousness of Jesus is placed upon those who believe and are trusting in that blood shed to cover all their sins. This sacrifice is motivated by God's love and grace to reconcile to Himself those who did not love Him at first. (1 John 4:19)
So, there are two resurrections in John 5:29. Paul understood this because he said; "I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust." (Acts 24:15 NKJV)
The first is to the resurrection of life of the just, those who have done good. We know that none are good, and all are sinners, but the righteousness of God is placed upon those who believe by faith. How? The gift of God's grace is through the redemption as a propitiation in Jesus' blood through faith. God has passed over all the sins previously committed. The believer stands righteous before God because the "good" of Jesus has been credited to the believer. (Romans 3:10-26)
The second group of people concerns the resurrection of condemnation of the unjust. Those who have refused to believe and have suppressed the truth will be judged and are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-22ff)
Jesus tells of the coming judgment at the end of time in Matthew 25:31-46. Two groups of people, the sheep (believers) and goats (non-believers) who will hear either "Come, you who are blessed of My Father…" or "Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire…"
This eternal fire is described at the second death: "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8 NKJV)
Everyone will die twice. The non-believer will die physically (Hebrews 9:27) and then will experience the second death forever in that lake of fire.
The believer will also die twice. The believer will die physically, just like the non-believer (Hebrews 9:27). But the second death had already happened there on the Cross when Jesus died. The believer has already died with Christ (Romans 6:8, Colossians 2:20, 2 Timothy 2:11). Paul says: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20 NKJV)
"For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection" (Romans 6:5 NKJV)
Our hope is found in the Gospel that always points us to the Cross and resurrection. There is no other.
"Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live." (John 11:25 NKJV)
Learning to Forgive others and not to become Bitter
Learning to Forgive others and not to become Bitter.
Jesus experienced bitterness toward Himself from the religious leaders and the Romans. His response was one of silence to the accusations, and a prayer, “Father, forgive them.” It is when we look at the Cross and realize that Jesus has been in our situation. Jesus did not blame or make counter-accusations, no; He remained silent. Keep your focus on the Lord, and may He give you the strength to stay faithful to Him and forgiving others.
Let’s look at this “forgiving others” a little bit more. When someone has sinned against you, they ask for your forgiveness, and you forgive them – what does that mean? Let’s look at the forgiveness aspect of these confessed sins. We are told to forgive in the same way Jesus has forgiven us.
"bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you." (Colossians 3:13 NASB)
"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (32) Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:31-32 NASB)
So how has God forgiven? “He remembers no more...”
"They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." (Jeremiah 31:34 NASB)
"FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE." (Hebrews 8:12 NASB)
"AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE." (18) Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin." (Hebrews 10:17-18 NASB)
"I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins." (Isaiah 43:25 NASB)
"'In those days and at that time,' declares the LORD, 'search will be made for the iniquity of Israel, but there will be none; and for the sins of Judah, but they will not be found; for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.'" (Jeremiah 50:20 NASB)
"He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea." (Micah 7:19 NASB)
It does NOT say that God forgets, God knows everything. But, He does choose NOT to “remember.” (μιμνήσκω mimnḗskō "to remember, recollect," NAS dictionary – accurately, recall, bring to mind, remind oneself actively (purposefully); to remember, have in mind, "be mindful of." "actively remember" (intentionally) – i.e., not off-handedly or merely incidentally).
So, when I choose to remind myself of something (a particular sin), I bring “it” up again. I re-hash, rehearse, re-live, remember that sin. It becomes “alive” again, and the pain and emotional consequences follow. This is why we continue to return to the Cross – that too is a reminder, remembering what Jesus has done to deal with our sins, once and for all.
"For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God." (Romans 6:10 NKJV)
"By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:10 NKJV)
So, when I forgive someone of their sins, it is finished and is not to be brought up again. But there is a cost to forgiving.
Example: You stole $20 from me. I had left it laying around, you saw it and took it. Then you took that $20 and went out to the movies and bought popcorn and a drink. The money is gone. Then your conscience reminds you that you stole $20 from me and need to confess that sin. You ask God’s forgiveness and then come to me.
So, being the repentant sinner, you come and ask for my forgiveness of stealing $20, but you are unable to repay. (You ought to repay – because you stole – but you are unable.)
Now, what do I do? I forgive you. And in that forgiveness – it cost me $20. I wipe the slate clean – you owe me nothing. It is forgiven. It is painful to forgive because I was going to take my wife out on a date, and now I can’t. But to forgive – is also to bear the cost of that forgiveness. This matter is never to be brought up again. “It is finished.” (I’m sure you see this is how God has forgiven us at the Cross, and it wasn’t a mere $20, but an enormous amount of sin that was forgiven.)
All is good, we are reconciled, and all is at peace once again. But a few weeks later, I come up to you and say, “You rotten thief, you stole that $20 that I was going to take my wife out on a date, and YOU ruined that date.”
Now have I really forgiven you? No, I have now sinned against you by reminding myself (and you) of your sin and how it hurt me. I am allowing a root of bitterness to take hold within, and it oozes and spills out on you. (Hebrews 12:15) And of course, I told my wife of your thievery, so she is also mad at you. And it was a “prayer concern” that I shared at the men’s Bible study. Now, they think of you as a thief. And on and on it will go – because I did not really forgive.
We hear, “I’ll forgive, but I won’t forget.” Again, it is not a matter of forgetting, but one of remembering and reminding myself, over and over again of some past transgression. It is the “remembering” that re-opens the sin and hurt. It is here at this point that we go to the Cross and place those “memories” at the foot of the Cross to be washed by the blood.
As we forgive one another, we forgive and by God’s grace, put it behind us and not bring it up again. But I will not leave money out, putting temptation in front of you, because I love you and don’t want to put you in a situation that might cause you to fall. (^:
When I sin, I bring that sin to the foot of the Cross. When I forgive, I bring that sin (of another) to the foot of the Cross. And declare, “It is finished.”
I hope this is helpful. I know it has been a great reminder of the importance not to be bringing up past sins that have been placed under the blood and have been forgiven. The only one who does bring things up again is Satan – the accuser of the brethren. (Revelation 12:10) And we don’t want Satan to be our role model.