In Memoriam ~ A Tribute To My Dad And The Rock Island Line

This entry is a tribute to this blog author’s earthly father, Howard Charles Thompson.  Howard’s mother died during his birth and his father blamed him for it.  His dad was a worthless drunkard and a womanizer, who abused Howard in his early years.  Howard ended up being raised by his aunt, and she gave him some wonderful guidance.  Howard’s temper and short fuse was one of his besetting sins which was passed down to my brother Fred and myself.  The Bible plainly refers to some sins that are passed down to the third and fourth generation.

 Exodus 34:7  King James Version (KJV)
7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

Howard was a humble man who thought nothing of himself, and loved his wife and children.  He worked as a railroad fireman and later as an engineer for the Rock Island Railroad near Chicago in northern Illinois.  When I was four or five years old he gave me a thrill that I remember as if it were yesterday.  He took me to the roundhouse where the behemoth diesel locomotives were housed and worked on, followed by a ride in one of the switch engines to the turntable, and then we went all around the railroad yard, and I pulled the air horn to boot.  I was hooked on trains from that time onward, and have a layout in my man cave/shed to this day.  He was a good man humanly speaking but he was lost and so were we.  We always said several prayers growing up as we prepared to go to sleep-  we were a good, moral family who were lost in our sins.  Excuses always came up when “church going” was the topic at hand.  “It is my only day to sleep in,”  etc., etc., etc.  You have heard them all.  When I was in college in 1973, my parents moved from Chicago, Illinois to Pompano Beach, Florida – and they were both saved from their sins, as they learned to trust Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and received Him in their hearts.  They became born again Christians while attending Ocean Drive Lutheran Church in Pompano Beach.  I was amazed at the change in them (II Corinthians 5:17), and how loving all the people were in their new church home.  I received salvation seven years later and that is another story.  I learned that my dad became perfect in the Lord’s sight because of Christ’s sacrifice for us, and that his sins were covered.  Like all of us, he received some “curve balls” in life that would have done him in, if not for the blood of Christ.  Thank you Jesus, for saving my parents, and for this precious truth to come to me as well, several years later.  Thank you for a humble, hard working blue collar father who worked for the Rock Island Line.  Both the Rock Island and my dad are now gone from this fallen planet, but Howard is in “a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it afar.”  Thank you Jesus for the precious hope that You give to the believer.  Thank you that Christians never say goodbye forever.  We can say: “I will see you here, there, or in the air.”   All Because Of Him,  Pastor Steve

Salvation:  Don’t Leave Earth Without It.

Microscale Inc Embossed Die-Cut Metal Sign - Rock Island -- Model Railroad Print Sign -- #10017

Advertisements

Salvation Comes Solely Through One Name ~ Our Daily Bread Devotional

One Name

One Name
January 7, 2018

Read: Philippians 2:5–11 | Bible in a Year: Genesis 18–19; Matthew 6:1–18

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. Philippians 2:10
Cleopatra, Galileo, Shakespeare, Elvis, Pelé. They are all so well known that they need only one name to be recognized. They have remained prominent in history because of who they were and what they did. But there is another name that stands far above these or any other name!
Before the Son of God was born into this world, the angel told Mary and Joseph to name Him Jesus because “he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21), and “he . . . will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:32). Jesus didn’t come as a celebrity but as a servant who humbled Himself and died on the cross so that anyone who receives Him can be forgiven and freed from the power of sin.
Jesus Christ is not valued at all until He is valued above all. Augustine
The apostle Paul wrote, “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9–11).
In our times of greatest joy and our deepest need, the name we cling to is Jesus. He will never leave us, and His love will not fail.

Jesus, You are the name above all names, our Savior and Lord. We lift our praise to You as we celebrate Your presence and power in our lives today.

Jesus Christ is not valued at all until He is valued above all. Augustine

By David C. McCasland | See Other Authors

INSIGHT
God, who exists eternally in three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—has a variety of names that describe His attributes, including Good Shepherd, Lion of Judah, Lamb of God, Prince of Peace, Almighty God, Strong Tower, and Comforter. Yet here in Philippians 2 Jesus is called the “name that is above every name” (v. 9). Paul, the author of Philippians, goes on to say that at the sound of His name “every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (v. 10). Why this enthusiastic praise for the name of Jesus? It’s because of who He is, what He left behind, and what He accomplished. Jesus, the Son of God, left the magnificence of heaven and the presence of His Father and humbled Himself by taking on “human likeness” and “becoming obedient to death” (vv. 7–8). Thus humbled, Jesus was “exalted . . . to the highest place” and given the name above all names (v. 9). He died and rose again because of His love for us and is deserving of our praise and the overflowing joy it expresses.

Whom can you tell about Jesus?
Alyson Kieda

 

500 years ago today, Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. This marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation

Luther’s Sola Fide

Posted: 31 Oct 2017 02:06 AM PDT
500 years ago today, Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517. This marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. In his publication, Luther criticized the sale of indulgences, the papal pardons which reduced the amount of punishment for sins in Purgatory. We can all appreciate Luther’s challenge to papal authority, specifically toward the Roman Catholic Church about the selling of papal pardons to rebuild St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. But did the Reformation get us back to biblical Christianity?
The Protestant position would come to incorporate doctrinal changes such as sola fide, or justification by faith alone. Sola fide has been a hallmark of Protestant theology since the beginning of the Reformation. For Luther, faith alone is specifically contrasted with good works. In his preface to Romans, Luther said, “faith alone makes someone just and fulfills the law.” By “faith alone” the Reformers clearly meant belief or trust, apart from anything else. According to Luther, good works have nothing to do with our salvation other than being the result of saving faith. Sola fide is thus formulated in the Augsburg Confession of Faith as follows:
[T]his faith is bound to bring forth good fruits, and that it is necessary to do good works commanded by God, because of God’s will, but that we should not rely on those works to merit justification before God. For remission of sins and justification is apprehended by faith, as also the voice of Christ attests: When ye shall have done all these things, say: We are unprofitable servants. Luke 17:10. The same is also taught by the Fathers. For Ambrose says: It is ordained of God that he who believes in Christ is saved, freely receiving remission of sins, without works, by faith alone. (Augsburg Confession of Faith, Article VI)
Luther was so insistent that justification was by faith alone and not works that, when translating Romans 3:28 into German, he added the word allein (“alone”), so that the verse would read: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith [alone] without the deeds of the law.” But the word “alone” is not present in the Greek text. This also brought Paul in direct contradiction to James. Church Historian Philip Schaff summarized:
The most important example of dogmatic influence in Luther’s version is the famous interpolation of the word alone in Rom. 3:28, by which he intended to emphasize his solifidian doctrine of justification, on the plea that the German idiom required the insertion for the sake of clearness. But he thereby brought Paul into direct verbal conflict with James, who says (James 2:24), “by works a man is justified, and not only by faith.” It is well known that Luther deemed it impossible to harmonize the two apostles in this article, and characterized the Epistle of James as an “epistle of straw,” because it had no evangelical character. (History of the Christian Church, Book 7, Chapter 4)
Ironically, the only place “faith alone” appears as a phrase in the New Testament is in James 2:24: “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (NET, or “faith only” in the KJV). James also says: “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). In context, James wrote:
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:14-26)
Most Protestants argue that James is merely attacking an empty faith. In order to agree with Luther, they say, “Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone.” But here is an obvious contradiction of terms in order to agree with Luther’s interpretation of Romans 3:28. In the end, an “empty faith” is nothing other than “faith alone” or “faith without works.” And James tells us that “faith alone” cannot save.
Taken at face value, James 2:14-26 contradicts Martin Luther’s doctrine of sola fide. How did Luther reconcile this glaring conflict? He sought to expel the Epistle of James from the New Testament canon. In his Preface to the Epistles of St. James and St. Jude, Luther said that the Epistle of James was “not the writing of any apostle.” Luther went on to question the authority of James:
Flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture, it ascribes righteousness to works, and says that Abraham was justified by his works, in that he offered his son Isaac, though St. Paul, on the contrary, teaches, in Romans 4:2, that Abraham was justified without works, by faith alone, before he offered his son, and proves it by Moses in Genesis 15:6. . . .
I cannot put him [James] among the chief books, though I would not thereby prevent anyone from putting him where he pleases and estimating him as he pleases; for there are many good sayings in him.
Luther not only questioned the authority of James, but also of Jude, Hebrews, and Revelation. Moreover, in his Preface to the New Testament, Martin Luther wrote:
In a word, St. John’s Gospel and his first Epistle, St. Paul’s Epistles, especially Romans, Galatians and Ephesians, and St. Peter’s first Epistle are the books that show you Christ and teach you all that it is necessary and good for you to know, even though you were never to see or hear any other book or doctrine. Therefore St. James’ Epistle is really an epistle of straw, compared to them; for it has nothing of the nature of the Gospel about it.
But Paul doesn’t have to conflict with James. The most satisfactory solution to the alleged contradiction between Paul and James is that Paul was referring to the “works” of the Law of Moses, especially circumcision (cf. Romans 4:2, 6, 9-12; Galatians 2:6-10, 12, 16; 3:2, 5, 10). On the other hand, James was referring to good “works” or works of obedience to God (James 2:14, 17-18, 20-22, 24). The raging issue for the first century Church was whether or not Gentiles needed to keep the works of the Law of Moses, i.e., circumcision (Acts 15). Preaching at Antioch, Paul said, “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:39).
The Scriptures have a much broader view of justification than Luther’s doctrine of sola fide. The Greek word dikaioō (translated “justified” throughout Romans 3 and James 2) also occurs in other passages without reference to faith. For example, Jesus said, “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:37). Even Paul said, “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Romans 2:13).
Again, James also says, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? . . . Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?” (James 2:21, 24-25).
The Greek words dikaioō (“justified”) and dikaiosynē (“righteousness”) both come from the root word dikaios which is normally translated “righteous” or “just.” In this broader sense, justification is the righteousness acceptable to God, more in line with the use of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).
John says: “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him” (1 John 2:29); “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous” (1 John 3:7); “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother” (1 John 3:10).
The Scriptures deny that one is justified by faith alone. Indeed, “by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Though our good works do not earn or merit our salvation, our obedience is in cooperation with divine grace, working together with God for our salvation (see Philippians 2:12-13).
On the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, we can appreciate Martin Luther for his challenge to reform the Roman Catholic Church and papal abuses. But we must not simply reject the infallibility of the Pope in order to embrace the infallibility of the Reformer. Pope Leo X was not infallible, and neither is Luther. Unfortunately, many Protestants hold to Luther’s doctrine of sola fide as if it were an infallible interpretation of the Scriptures. Let’s be honest with what the Scriptures actually say and reform our own lives accordingly, by the grace of God.
Related:
Faith & Works – Harmonizing Paul & James
The post Luther’s Sola Fide appeared

******************************

The above is very good theology.  My simple mind interprets it succinctly as follows:  We are saved by our faith in Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 5:17,21; Ephesians 2:8-10), but a genuine saving faith is always accompanied by works.  Specifically, please note Ephesians 2:10.  It is true that Martin Luther is NOT a Protestant Pope, and he erred in his disparaging comments in reference to the book of James.  A genuine saving faith and works are like a horse and carriage or love and marriage.  They mesh together beautifully and naturally.  You cannot have one without the other.  Should not the numerous exploits of the faithful saints described graphically in the “Hall of Faith,” Hebrews 11, convince us of this?   Pastor Steve   <><

The Offense Of The Cross (Part 2 of 2)

The Offense Of The Cross

Galatians 5:11  King James Version (KJV)
11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

Consider why the cross is an offense today:

1)The cross of Christ condemns the world.  The thief on the cross who was saved, saw Jesus as He really was, and himself for what he was.  Sin reveals that we fall short of God’s demands.  It is the gigantic evil, the transgression towards God.  Sin leaves us far from God’s holy nature.  It leaves us no hope, we must pay the price.  “The soul that sins shall die.”  Sin lies upon our conscience – we lie in bed with insomnia, dreams and nightmares.  Jesus was made sin and a curse for us – He put away our sins and the condemning power.  There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.  But the world is offended by the crucified God/man, suspended on a stick, and told this is the only way you can be saved.  An illustration would be Madalyn Haira and her hatred of the cross.  She actually desired for the state flag of Maryland to be changed since there was a cross on it, even though it did not depict the cross of Christ.  Another example is the movie, The Last Temptation, which made Jesus a sinner just like you and me.  Furthermore, the National Arts submerged a cross in urine in order to portray their disdain of the cross.  The first funeral that I officiated, dealt with a murder/suicide.  I spoke a eulogy to the county Rescue Squad.  When I preached on sin and the cross, the congregation was offended and they filed out.  Here is the “eulogy” that offended them:  “There are none righteous, no not one.”  Madonna, another name for the Virgin Mary, is another example of one who despises the cross of Christ.  She is offended by the cross and wears several in mockery.  The press claimed it was her trademark.  I beg to differ.  She wore it but never bore it.  She was noted for the perverted quotation:  “I love the crucifix because there is a naked man on it.”  Wrong Madonna – the cross and the tomb are empty.  Jesus Christ died for the sins of Madonna, you and me.  Many throughout the world, at work and school, curse Jesus Christ and are offended by the cross.  They feel self sufficient.  Have you ever heard of Buddha, Confucius or Mohammed cursed?  Of course not, they bore no cross.  The cross is an offense because “…men loved darkness because their deeds are evil.”  The cross throws light into the dark recesses of our soul and reveals our sins – the cross becomes an offense because it condemns us as sinners.

2)The cross is an offense because blood was shed there.  Unbelievers accuse us of a “slaughterhouse religion.”  But the Bible tells us that the shed blood of our Savior on Mount Calvary is our only hope:  “Without the shedding of the blood there is no remission of sins.”  Amen and amen.

3)The cross sets up an imperative ideal life.  Jesus said:  “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, carry his cross, and follow me.”  This imperative eliminates the church crowd.  Many people “have a form of religion and godliness but deny the power thereof.”  There is an outward show, but little evidence of the real Christian life and the new birth.  They are offended by real Christianity.  Jesus always thinned out the ranks and never sought the popular “gospel.”  Today, big churches often seek mass membership, and do not stress the new birth, the cross, the blood, true salvation and the need to repent from sin.  Today’s country club has an organization, members, reports, and programs, but is not one of self denial.  Even Jesus’ large crowd did not want self denial.  They desired the kingdom, the crowd, and to rule and live in a palace – they did not want to go to the cross with Jesus.  We shudder at a life like Jesus, refusing to surrender what the cross condemns.  

4)The cross is an offense because it claims to be the power and salvation of God.  The first duty of every man  is to get right with God.  Man does not like this, and wants to believe that many roads lead to heaven.  Jesus said the gate is narrow, and at the beginning of the gate is the cross, and one cannot enter but by the cross.  The cross humbles, demands, and expects everything we have to be given to Christ.  The cross condemns every other way of salvation.  Acts 4:12  “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  If people tell you that you are narrow minded, you can share with them that “narrow is the way to the kingdom, there be few who find it.”       

The Offense Of The Cross (Part 1 of 2)

The Offense Of The Cross

Galatians 5:11  King James Version (KJV)
11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

The cross represents the true Christian Church.  The symbol is on and/or in every church.  Then there is the Red Cross organization, people wear the cross, it is placed on cars, and on Bibles.  Christ’s pulpit is often in the shape of a cross.  The event of the cross is the foundation of our faith.  For the Christian, the cross alone is our theology.  The knowledge of God comes through the crucified Christ.  Love outside of the cross is really not God’s love – we learn of God’s love through the cross, and not by any other means.  Worldlings follow horoscopes.  The cross is the sign of a believer.  The world sees the cross through good Friday alone.  The believer sees the cross through Easter Sunday and Resurrection Day.  The cross is a mystery and a paradox.  Just as Jesus was crucified and resurrected, we now struggle and bear our cross.  Believers will have our resurrection later.  The resurrection is life through death, strength through weakness, hope through despair, recovery through loss, suffering, folly, persecution, and joy through sorrow.  For Paul, the scandal of the cross dominates the believer’s life.  The cross stands before those who say the Christian life is a bowl of cherries.  Following Jesus is sharing His suffering.  There is no by passing rejection and death, to eternal life and the glory of the risen Christ.  There is no “pie in the sky / you can have it all now” Christianity.  Suffering, humiliation, and rejection are hallmarks of our faith, and evidence of true discipleship.  The cross of Christ is forsaking everything and clinging to Christ alone.  It is the center of God’s truth revealed to man.  But to many,

the cross is an offense:  Offense comes from the Greek word- scandalon, from which we get the word scandal.

Jesus said, “If you are going to follow me, you have to take up the cross.”  Today we might say “…take up your gas chamber or electric chair.”  We must die to self before Christ can reign in our hearts.  In our scripture text, the Judaizers, through the works of circumcision, sought to rob Christians of their freedom in Christ.  Legalists always avoid the themes of persecution and “the offense of the cross,” by insisting on circumcision and law-keeping.  If Paul preached legalism, he would not be persecuted.  Circumcision and the cross are opposed – Paul could not preach both – if he did – the offense of the cross would cease.  The “offense” is the foolishness and stumbling block of the cross.  The cross uproots the doctrine of salvation by human merit.  Salvation is through grace alone – and there can be no compromise.  The offensiveness of the cross to self righteous legalists is that salvation is by grace without circumcision and obedience to the law.  “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”  (Galatians 5:9)  One work added to the cross perverts it all!

The Cross Has The Final Word ~ The Newsboys

Featuring Peter Furler And Michael Tait On The Same Song.  Excellent Video:

Saturday, October 22, 2011
Quote of the Day #176 – Charles Spurgeon

A quote from Charles Spurgeon on the unmatched-supremacy of the gospel of Jesus Christ:
“Oh! down, down, down, with everything else, but up, up, up, with the cross of Christ! Down with your baptism, and your masses, and your sacraments! Down with your priestcraft, and your rituals, and your liturgies! Down with your fine music, and your pomp, and your robes, and your garments, and all your ceremonials. But up, up, up, with the doctrine of the naked cross, and the expiring Saviour. Let the voice ring throughout the whole world, “Look unto Me and live!” There is life in a look at the Crucified One!”
~Charles Spurgeon (Christ, The Glory Of His People 826.464)

*******************************

The Offense Of The Cross

Galatians 5:11  King James Version (KJV)
11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

Billy Graham has a message called “the offense of the cross.”  The Greek word for offense is “skandalon,” from which we received the word scandal.  The cross is a scandal because it condemns the world, because blood was shed there, it sets up an imperative for an ideal life and one of self denial, and finally it is an offense because it claims to be the power and salvation of God.

Muslims Vs Christian Preacher@Hyde Park , London / Hundreds Hear The Gospel

If you like anointed, Spirit filled preaching, look no further:

When the true Gospel is preached with unction from the Holy Spirit, the results are often a revival and/or a riot.  That was what happened when the Apostle Paul preached.  Bold unapologetic preaching without compromise thrills my soul.

Blessings, Pastor Steve  <><

Revival Is Happening In England  ~  Pray For Revival In America!

ONE WAY

Acts 4:12  King James Version (KJV)
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

Apostle Simon Peter   33 A.D.

The Cure
Unspoken
We’re all related, brothers and strangers
The king and the beggar bleed the same
We’ve all got a sickness, a terminal condition
We medicate it but the pain won’t go away
See the eyes of a million faces
Looking for it in a million places
Only one can save us, Jesus
You are the cure
Everybody’s searching for it
Everybody’s reaching out
Trying to grab a hold of something real
You are the cure
Only you can satisfy us
Fill up the void inside us
Never been a heart you couldn’t heal
You are the cure
You are the doctor, healer and father
To the orphan without a home
We fell into darkness, lost till you found us
You are the remedy we’re looking for
You are the cure
Everybody’s searching for it
Everybody’s reaching out
Trying to grab a hold of something real
You are…

*****************************

John 14:6  King James Version (KJV)
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Jesus Christ of Nazareth    32 A.D.