VIDEO Four Nights with the Devil – Another Gift

 

Another Gift

Being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. Matthew 2:12

How long were the Wise Men on the road? A similar journey by Ezra took four months: “On the first day of the first month he began his journey from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him” (Ezra 7:9). For the Magi it was a roundtrip journey; they returned home by another route.

In addition, then, to giving the Lord their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, the Magi also gave Him the gift of their time.

As the old year passes into history, let’s look back over the months and see if we’ve used our time wisely for the Lord. Our days and hours belong to Him, and we must guard how much time we devote to entertainment, social media, and self-serving activities. Imagine our Lord’s pleasure as we spend more time with Him and for Him during the upcoming year. As we do so, the good hand of our God will be on us.


 

Was Jesus an Historical Figure?

Two separate sources recently questioned the historicity of Jesus. But let us set the record straight.

First, on a comedy show on TBS, “The Guestbook,” just before Christmastime, one of the characters likened belief in Jesus to belief in Santa. The episode is called, “Tonight you become a man”—where a character supposedly becomes an adult by realizing Santa and Jesus are just myths.

Second, the Muslim prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, claimed that there is “no mention of Jesus in history.” Khan’s view that Jesus is not an historical figure puts him out of step with  Mohammed, who believed that “Prophet Jesus” (as he would have called him) was historical. (It’s also worth noting that Khan was born on October 5, 1952—that is to say, 1952 years after the reported birth of Jesus.)

But what about this matter of Jesus and history? Is Jesus Christ a verifiable historical figure, using the criteria that historians use, or not?

Will Durant, the great non-Christian historian who wrote the series, The Story of Civilization, noted in his third volume, Caesar and Christ (1944), that if the criteria by which some philosophers claim Jesus didn’t really exist as an historical person were used consistently, then we’d have to throw out noteworthy historical figures, such as Hammurabi or King David by that same criteria.

Durant, a respected historian, had no such doubts as to Jesus’ real existence as a person.

Last year, I interviewed Dr. Mike Licona, a Christian scholar, apologist, and debater of skeptics. He teaches at Houston Baptist University. We discussed: Did Jesus exist?

He told me that no reputable historian holds the position questioning that Jesus existed as a man. Indeed, consider the historical evidence.

Of course, there are many Christian sources that testify to Jesus’ existence, such as His apostles like Peter, John, Matthew, and Andrew. There was also the implacable enemy of the Christian Church, Saul of Tarsus, who once dedicated his life to uprooting the fledgling faith. He became converted after having met the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus. He was transformed into the Apostle Paul, an implacable promoter of faith in Christ Jesus, as he often called Him—that is, Messiah Jesus.

Most of these historical sources not only testified that Jesus was real; they were martyred because they refused to deny Him. This was Someone they saw with their own eyes and heard with their own ears.

Of course, these Christian historical sources are biased. But that doesn’t mean they are to be discounted as historical sources. Nonetheless, other sources from the first and second centuries that speak of Jesus of Nazareth abound.

I once interviewed Dr. John Dominic Crossan, a skeptic of Jesus, who was a key leader of the Jesus Seminar, a group of liberal theologians which sat in judgment on many of the sayings of Jesus as found in the Gospels.

Crossan is certainly a skeptic of core Christian teachings about Jesus, but even he affirms that  Jesus was an historical figure. He told me: “We do know that Jesus existed from both Tacitus, at the beginning of the second century, a pagan historian, and Josephus at the end of the first century.” This is all the more noteworthy, he added, in that Jesus was not a part of the “aristocratic ruling class” and would therefore, generally, not be mentioned in the history books.

Dr. Gary Habermas of Liberty University is the author of more than 40 books on the historical Jesus, about half of which focus on His resurrection from the dead.

Habermas once told me:

“Actually, the life of Jesus is recorded in whole or in part, different segments, in about 20 different non-Christian sources, archaeological or historical, outside the New Testament. Now most of these are little snippets, a sentence here, a paragraph there; but you put them altogether and there’s approximately 60-65 facts concerning the life, death, resurrection, teachings of Jesus in the earliest church. You can get an outline of his life and never touch the New Testament.”

In Habermas’s book, The Historical Jesus (1996), he lists the following first and second century non-Christian sources who mention Jesus: Tacitus, Josephus, Thallus, Phlegon, Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, Emperor Trajan, Emperor Hadrian, the Talmud, Lucian, Mara Bar-Serapion, and so on.

In addition, Habermas lists multiple sources from Christian writers who are not in the New Testament from the same time frame. They would include Clement of Rome, Diognetus, Aristedes, Papias, Barnabas, Polycarp, Ignatius, Melito of Sardis, Quadratus, and Justin Martyr.

By first century standards, this is terrific documentation.

Anybody can make any claim they want, but neither the TBS producers of “The Guestbook” nor the prime minister of Pakistan have an historical leg to stand on when they deny the existence of the historical Jesus.

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Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., is an on-air host/senior producer for D. James Kennedy Ministries. He has written/co-written 30 books, e.g., The Unstoppable Jesus Christ, American Amnesia: Is American Paying the Price for Forgetting God?, What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? (w/ D. James Kennedy) & the bestseller, George Washington’s Sacred Fire (w/ Peter Lillback)   djkm.org  @newcombejerry      http://www.jerrynewcombe.com

https://barbwire.com/was-jesus-an-historical-figure/

How You Can Listen to God’s Word

Nehemiah 8:1-9

In our culture, Bibles are so plentiful that we often take them for granted. This was not the case in Ezra’s day. After being exiled from Israel for many years, the Jews had finally returned to their land, and today’s passage describes their reaction to hearing the Scriptures. We may have easy access to Bibles today, but we’d do well to learn to approach God’s Word in the same manner as these Israelites did.

With eager attentiveness. The people listened attentively as Ezra read Scripture “from daybreak till noon” (Neh. 8:3 NIV). How eager are you each day to open God’s Word and devote time to reading and study?

With reverence and worship. When Ezra opened the scroll, all the people stood up in reverence and then bowed down to worship the Lord (Neh. 8:5-6). Scripture reveals who God is and increases our awe of Him and respect for His Word.

With understanding. There were people who helped others understand what they heard, similar to the way pastors and teachers do today (Neh. 8:7-8). Do you skim over passages you don’t understand, or do you rely on the many sound teaching resources available?

With repentance. After hearing God’s Law, they were convicted of sin and repented with mourning and weeping (Neh. 8:9). God’s Word is sanctifying, revealing sin and guiding us into righteousness.

It’s easy to take for granted what is commonly available, but we should never lose sight of the most valuable possession God has given us—His inspired, inerrant Word.

The Sons of God

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” (1 John 3:1)

When John says “behold,” he uses the Greek word eido, which might well be here rendered “focus your mind because this fact is important!” We are called “sons of God.” The world can’t know this because the world does not know God.

We are chosen (Ephesians 1:4), selected out of many who will not be so favored (Matthew 22:14), and adopted (Galatians 4:5) into the family of the omnipotent Creator “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29). Not only that, but since we have been created “after God in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24), then as God’s “sons” we are “then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).

This unique and priceless gift of sonship has the responsibilities of “sons” as well as the privileges. Yes, we are made righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21), but we are also called “unto holiness” (1 Thessalonians 4:7) and expected to “work out” our salvation (Philippians 2:12) with fear and trembling. Although we are granted rights to “sit together” with Christ in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6), we are commanded to “put on the whole armour of God” here on Earth so that we can “withstand in the evil day” (Ephesians 6:11, 13).

Sonship also demands the “chastisement” of the Father (Hebrews 12:8) and the careful additions to our faith of the character disciplines of virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (2 Peter 1:5‑7). Earthly sonship must “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). HMM III

Ye have an unction from the Holy One

1 John 2:12-28

1 John 2:12

Little children have sins; they need to be forgiven; and they may be forgiven at once. Should not every child go to Jesus and ask to be washed in his precious blood? To be little children in Jesus Christ is a great privilege, and to such the word of God is directed as much as to the more advanced saints.

1 John 2:13

These established saints, having a deeper knowledge of their Lord, were bound to lend the more earnest attention to his word, and to carry it out more fully.

These young men are the flower of the army of the Lord of Hosts. By their victories already won the apostle summons them to new conflicts. The Spirit of God has a call for believers in all stages of the divine life.

1 John 2:14-15

He may use it, but love it he must not, unless he will renounce the love of God.

1 John 2:18

The spirit of antichrist has many forms, and is present in every age. Everything which robs Christ of his glory is antichristian.

1 John 2:19

Bad teachers leave the church of God because they never in truth belonged to it. When they go over to Rome they go to their own place.

1 John 2:20

An experimental knowledge of the truth is the best preservative against error.

1 John 2:22

This is the greatest of all falsehoods, and it insults both the Father and the Son by doubting their testimony.

1 John 2:24

You cannot find a better gospel; persevere, then, in what you already know.

1 John 2:28

Being full of love he pleads with us never to desert our Lord, or listen to the false gospels which would lead us astray. Ever may this family be true to Jesus, to the gospel, and to holy living: and may none of us ever be deceived by false doctrine, or tempted into sin.

 

One there is to whom we’re going,

One to whom we owe our all;

Daily grace is he bestowing,

He sustains us when we fall.

Precious Jesus!

Thou to us art all in all.

 

The Real Need for Reverence

God is greatly to be feared… and to be had in reverence. (Psalm 89:7)

Many persons who have been raised in our churches no longer think in terms of reverence, which seems to indicate that they doubt God’s presence is there! Much of the blame must be placed on the growing acceptance of a wordly secularism that seems much more appealing than any real desire for the spiritual life that is pleasing to God.

We secularize God; we secularize the gospel of Christ and we secularize worship!

No great and spiritually minded men of God are going to come out of such churches, nor any great spiritual movement of believing prayer and revival. If God is to be honored and revered and truly worshiped, He may have to sweep us away and start somewhere else!

Let us confess that there is a necessity for true worship among us. If God is who He says He is and if we are the believing people of God we claim to be, we must worship Him! In my own assessment, for men and women to lose the awareness of God in our midst is a loss too terrible ever to be appraised!

 

Trust And Do; Do And Trust

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” Ps. 37:3

Trust and do are words which go well together, in the order in which the Holy Spirit has placed them. We should have faith, and that faith should work. Trust in God sets us upon holy doing: we trust God for good, and then we do good. We do not sit still because we trust, but we arouse ourselves, and expect the Lord to work through us and by us. It is not ours to worry and do evil, but to trust and do good. We neither trust without doing, nor do without trusting.

Adversaries would root us out, if they could; but by trusting and doing we dwell in the land. We will not go into Egypt, but we will remain in Immanuel’s land — the providence of God, the Canaan of covenant love. We are not so easily to be got rid of as the Lord’s enemies suppose. They cannot thrust us out, nor stamp us out: where God has given us a name and a place, there we abide.

But what about the supply of our necessities? The Lord has put a “verily” into this promise. As sure as God is true, His people shall be fed. It is theirs to trust and to do, and it is the Lord’s to do according to their trust. If not fed by ravens, or fed by an Obadiah, or fed by a widow, yet they shall be fed somehow. Away, ye fears!