Wrong for a Christian or Church to be Rich? Part 1 (TMF:785)

Peace to Live By: Wrong for a Christian or Church to be Rich? Part 1 (TMF:785) - Daniel Litton
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       Contention two: Because many Christians and churches are rich, they are not following the model of Jesus. Really, this question is an issue both for non-Christians and even Christians, as I notice myself that people from time to time tend to question how rich, or frugal, a Christian or church should be. The reality is, is that it is not wrong for a Christian or a church to in fact be rich. Paul did note in his first letter to Timothy the following: “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:9, 10, ESV). The idea here in Paul’s words to Timothy is that a Christian should not “desire” or have the “craving” to become rich. One should try to be content with the amount of money that God has given him or her.

Churches Exist for Ulterior Motives? Part 3 (TMF:784)

Peace to Live By: Churches Exist for Ulterior Motives? Part 3 (TMF:784) - Daniel Litton
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       So, while there may be some preachers who preach in order to make money—those who preach “out of selfish ambition.” There are also obviously those preachers who tell people about Christ because they really believe what they are saying. They are not doing it for any monetary gain or even personal gain. Interestingly enough, however, God says in the Bible that it’s not wrong for a preacher, or an evangelist, to be paid for their work on behalf of Christ. If you read 1 Corinthians chapter 9, you can note that it is not wrong for a preacher, or evangelist, to receive money or material goods in return for his or her work. It was just that Paul and Barnabas decided to work for their living rather than collect a paycheck from the churches of which they ministered. But it would not have been wrong for them to have done so—to have collected a paycheck. Paul did point out that he had an advantage over those who do collect money since he didn’t, for no one could accuse him of preaching or evangelizing for financial gain. It gave people more confidence in his authenticity.

Churches Exist for Ulterior Motives? Part 2 (TMF:783)

Peace to Live By: Churches Exist for Ulterior Motives? Part 2 (TMF:783) - Daniel Litton
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       Apparently, even within the church back then, there were those preachers who preached in competition with each other, trying to outdo one another. And then, as Paul noted, there was just those who preached because they felt God’s call to do so, and weren’t really concerned about what others thought of their preaching. That’s the way it is supposed to be with the preacher. The preacher is just supposed to preach the Bible and not worry about what others think, including those who are doing the same thing. But Paul called those who preached out of “envy and rivalry” as doing it for “selfish ambition.” That means, obviously, these preachers were trying to advance themselves and were not that concerned about the kingdom of God—people coming to know Jesus or with Christians being helped in their own lives. As far as these selfish preachers afflicting Paul in his imprisonment, it could have been that they were actually arguing against Paul that he was in prison in the first place because God was not on his side, or some other sort of distorted view.

Churches Exist for Ulterior Motives? Part 1 (TMF:782)

Peace to Live By: Churches Exist for Ulterior Motives? Part 1 (TMF:782) - Daniel Litton
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       Contention one: Churches actually exist as organizations with ulterior motives. Some say, “I will not listen to any preacher who is asking for money.” A good church is one that exists for the purpose of presenting the Bible as God’s true Word to live by, and also wants to multiply more and more followers of Christ—to be disciple-makers. To overgeneralize and say that all churches are fraudulent and exist for ulterior motives just doesn’t make good, logical sense. It could be true, and surely is, that some churches of the great amount which are out there do exist just to make money or for perhaps another political reason. In fact, the Apostle Paul told the Philippians some 2,000 years ago: “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice” (Philippians 1:15-18, ESV).

Intro to Attacks on Christianity- The Church (TMF:781)

Peace to Live By: Intro to Attacks on Christianity- The Church (TMF:781) - Daniel Litton
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       When a lot of people attack Christianity, one of the first things they focus on is the church—or the condition of the church. Opponents believe that if they can show the people who follow Christian principles to be no different than anyone else, to be hypocrites, then they can undermine the church. And it is true that when Christians don’t live up to becoming more like Jesus that it can and does from time to time set a bad example for unbelievers to see. But we cannot, nor should anybody, judge Christianity on the actions of one individual or even a small group of individuals. Just as one cannot judge a team based on one sports performance, or a cast based on one television episode, so Christianity should not be simply judged based on one setting or group of Christians.

Jesus' Blood Shed for Us Takes Away Our Sin (TMF:780)

Peace to Live By: Jesus' Blood Shed for Us Takes Away Our Sin (TMF:780) - Daniel Litton
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       By counting on his death on the cross, we are then declared not guilty for all of our wrongs in this life. Jesus makes us right with God. And Jesus rose from the dead, gaining victory over Satan and death so that we can live a true life. Jesus’ blood shed for us takes away our sin. But we must accept him as Savior and Lord to be counted righteous before God. Then for those of us who are made perfect before God, we never again have to worry about facing God’s wrath against us in Hell because of the bad choices we made. If you would like to accept Jesus today as your personal Lord and Savior, then I want you to follow my lead in this simple prayer: God today my eyes have been opened. I now understand what Jesus has accomplished for me on the cross, and I would like to accept his sacrifice on my behalf for my sins. I do believe that Jesus really existed, that he rose from the dead, and is with you in Heaven today. I give my life to you today because I really believe I can trust you. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Do You Want to Believe in Jesus Today? (TMF:779)

Peace to Live By: Do You Want to Believe in Jesus Today? (TMF:779) - Daniel Litton
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       And it may even be the case that there is someone out there who has decided he or she does want to believe in Christianity, to believe in the Bible. Maybe you have decided that you do want to believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Well, in just a moment, I’m going to give you that opportunity to that decision. It’s such an important and life-changing choice to follow Jesus. It’s not something that messes up your life, or turns your life into a rigorous list of dos and don’ts. That’s not what Christianity is. Believing in Jesus means you get to experience true life, which starts today. It is true that life comes from Jesus, as he is the source for all life. Nothing was made outside of his will and control, and he has the whole world in his hands—every part of it. You can be safe in his care today, and really have nothing to worry about. You see, as all of us humans are separated from God from the moment we are born, God decided he wanted to be in a personal relationship with each one of us.

Biblical Stories Based Off Greek Mythology? Part 2 (TMF:778)

Peace to Live By: Biblical Stories Based Off Greek Mythology? Part 2 (TMF:778) - Daniel Litton
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       Let me pull up a foundational text against this argument from the Apostle Peter. He said in 2 Peter 1:16, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (ESV). Notice how Peter clearly challenges anyone who would say that Jesus’ coming or even miracles were lies, myths, or just good stories. Note how he points to the fact that he, and the other Apostles and disciples with him, were “eyewitnesses” to Jesus himself. That is so key and pivotal. That’s one of the best reasons to argue Christianity to be true—the fact that Jesus’ disciples saw him do everything, and saw him after he rose from the dead, and all died martyrs deaths (except for perhaps John). People don’t die from lies unless they are crazy people or have been brainwashed. Eyewitness are not brainwashed, though, as an aside, Muslim terrorists clearly are. They have never seen anything with their own eyes, and yet, they die for lies.

Biblical Stories Based Off Greek Mythology? Part 1 (TMF:777)

Peace to Live By: Biblical Stories Based Off Greek Mythology? Part 1 (TMF:777) - Daniel Litton
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       Contention Five: Stories in the Bible, like the virgin birth of Jesus or Satan’s fall from Heaven, were actually based off of Greek mythology hundreds of years beforehand, and therefore, did not really happen. For those who have studied Greek Mythology, and I’m sure many of you have, you will realize, very quickly, that there really isn’t much presented that is exact, or even similar, to what we read in the Bible. One has to remember that the Bible presents the virgin birth and Satan’s fall as literal, historical, actual things that happened. Greek Mythology presents its stories as just that—stories. It is not trying to say these events ‘actually’ happened (that is, in a historical context; see Strobel, 2007, pg. 179), hence the name ‘myth’-ology (though many did believe they happened: see Acts 19 for instance). Let me pull up a foundational text against this argument from the Apostle Peter. He said in 2 Peter 1:16, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (ESV).

Reference
Strobel, Lee. (2007). The Case for the Real Jesus. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI.

The Bible Follows Religious Traditions? Part 2 (TMF:776)

Peace to Live By: The Bible Follows Religious Traditions? Part 2 (TMF:776) - Daniel Litton
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       I would say, though, even if they were it would not matter. We really don’t know for sure the exact date at which the first two chapters of Genesis were written; it could have been before all the other stories and just handed down to Moses. We know we have them by approximately 1,500 B.C. Even if Native Americans or whatever early tribe which spawned from the Flood of Noah had come up with a creation story before Genesis 1 and 2 were written, it still is nothing like the creation story we find in Genesis. The Genesis account is a very methodical and logically reasonable account of the creation, of which there is nothing mystical or hard to believe about it. There is no allegory, and that is key because most other creation stories contain allegory. And besides, remember behind any other form of religion there is a demon. That’s what the Bible says (see 1 Corinthians 10:18-22). And therefore, it would only make sense, if a story does seem to be similar in some aspects, for the demon to try to copy, or imitate, the real thing.