How can you know for certain that Jesus is the Promised Messiah?

How can you know for certain that Jesus is the Promised Messiah?

The Bible is the only prophetic book that has been proven to be reliable for more than 2,000 years. This reliability can be seen both in its historical accuracy and in the way it has revealed the nature of God who exists outside of our understanding of time and space. God, who created the universe and whose interaction with the human race is laid out in 66 books and letters, sees human history from Genesis to Revelation as if it is already completed. That’s why we can trust that the prophecies contained in the Bible accurately describe past and future events. The timing of future events remains a mystery, but because hundreds of past events were predicted with accuracy we can be confident that more than 300 prophesies related to Jesus that were recorded in Biblical texts hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus are accurate and reliable.

Here we will present a few that clearly show that Jesus is the Messiah (or anointed one) who was sent by God to bring salvation to humankind.

Think about it this way for a moment. There are over eight billion people on planet Earth and a vast majority have cell phones. If we want to connect with someone, we start with a country code or area code. That alone cuts down the number of people into a specific geographic area. Then say we ‘dial’ in the next three digits and the field of possibilities greatly shrinks again. Finally, as we dial in the last four numbers we find a person we are looking to talk with. So, with only a total of 10 or 12 numbers we get the person. That’s really amazing.

Using that analogy, we can search the “Biblical prophetic phone directory” and search for the only person in history who could be the Messiah. So, let’s begin the quest and see if we can find Him.

  1. Location. Where this Messiah is to be born is a place called Bethlehem-Ephrata in Israel, a few miles south of Jerusalem. Not Bethlehem, Pa., or the other Bethlehem in northern Israel. This prophecy in Micah 5:2 is like having the country code and area code of the Messiah.
  2. Gender. Male or female? Isaiah 7:14, A virgin will bear a son who will be called Emmanuel, God with us. Now we have reduced the pool of possibilities to all the men who have or will be born in a small town in Israel.
  3. Lineage. Genesis 22:18 & 49:10, the Messiah would be a descendent of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and come from the line of Judah or King David. Both Mary and Joseph were from the line of David.
  4. Timing. When will the Messiah have appeared on the planet? Before 70 A.D. as that’s when the Romans destroyed the Temple and the city of Jerusalem. Jesus said that would happen and He spent considerable time at the temple. Mark13:2
  5. How did the Messiah die? Isaiah 53:12 & Psalm 22:16, Romans used crucifixion to kill the condemned. History says Jesus was killed, crucified in 30 A.D. This prophecy was made 700 years before crucifixion was adopted as a method of killing criminals.

So from these prophecies alone, we have identified the place he was born, that Messiah is a male, from the lineage of David, he lived before 70 A.D. and he was crucified by the Romans in 30 A.D. The life and death of Jesus was not only recorded in four separate accounts found in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but also by the Jewish historian Josephus and Roman historian, Tacitus.

Now for the logic and the facts. No one gets to choose the place they are born, their gender or parents or ancestors, what time they would live on the planet and how they would die. And remember these prophecies were made many hundreds of years before the Messiah was born.(Note-He just didn’t appear one day down from the heavens, although He will come again one day that way as He said so himself.)

So, the only person that could possibly fit these few prophecies as Messiah is Jesus Christ. If you are still not convinced, explore other prophecies to convince yourself of this truth. God promises to reveal the Messiah to those who diligently seek Him. Finally, remember life is full of choices but as to eternity, there are only two. Wise men and women still seek Jesus the Messiah for salvation and eternal life. He said so in John 14:16, “I am the way the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except by me.” Choose wisely.

What worldviews are in conflict with the Christian worldview? Why?

What worldviews are in conflict with the Christian worldview? Why?

A worldview is “any ideology, philosophy, theology, movement or religion that provides an overarching approach to understanding God, the world, and the relationship of people to God and the world.” That definition is provided by Summit Ministries, an organization that is equipping and supporting rising generations to embrace God’s Truth and a Christian worldview.

We all have a worldview, even if unconsciously and without formally articulating it. It is our take on the nature of the world, like a lens through which we view and try to comprehend life. If the lens is faulty, if the prescription is wrong, our view of the world will be faulty and blurry. Such an uninformed and out of focus view will lead to poor decisions, bad behavior, and an unfulfilling life. The prophet Hosea warns, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)

A Christian worldview is based on seeing and interpreting life through the lens of God’s truth as revealed in the Bible. That truth begins with God who predates Creation as we know it. “In the beginning, God…” (Genesis 1:1)

A Biblical worldview pronounces that we are loved by God, made in His image, and created for eternal life, while also acknowledging our sinful human nature. The Bible is the Christian’s constant point of reference with rules and wisdom to live by. When we fail to live up to God’s holy standards, we learn in the Bible that God offers us redemption and a path to eternal life through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Worldviews in conflict with Christianity begin with ‘in the beginning, no God.’ For them, there is no divine image in which we are made; instead, we are seen as no different from the animals, a random, evolutionary product of time plus chance. They acknowledge no divine truth to serve as a guide for our lives, and no such thing as eternal life, which we will spend in heaven or hell. They assume that human nature is good, not sinful, and thus not in need of a redeemer. Whereas the Psalmist proclaims, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:6) The atheist worldview believes, “the universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is at bottom no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”

Many non-Christian worldviews, ideologies known as “-isms,” are not only different from but also hostile to the Christian view. Some of the best known are Secular Humanism, Materialism, Naturalism, Marxism/Communism, and Postmodernism. Christians must study the Bible to understand their own worldview, and they need to become acquainted with the ideologies that are determined to replace it. How will you respond to the challenge presented by Joshua (24:15)?  “Choose this day whom you will serve, . . . But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

What Can a Person do to have a Clean Heart?

What Can a Person do to have a Clean Heart?

There is a familiar quote that says,” Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” We know from life experiences that when something or someone becomes soiled a bath or a cleaning up is required. We wash clothes, dishes, cars and of course our bodies to keep them clean and get the dirt out. In our supermarkets, whole aisles are dedicated to cleaning supplies and a like amount of space is filled with hundreds of products that promise to clean and refresh our bodies hair and teeth. As with people in most cultures, outward appearances are considered important.

 Unfortunately, what most people fail to recognize is that while ‘man’ looks at the outside God looks and sees the inside He’s more interested in the condition of the human heart. God’s standard of clean is perfection because He is Holy. In this context, we are not referring to the beating physical heart but to the very essence of a person’s being, or the real self that resides within the human eternal soul. The word ‘heart’ is used to define an individual’s personality and character. In other words, the real you is on full display to God at all times.  

 A person cannot achieve a clean heart on his or her own efforts. A clean heart is only possible by the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit through a life-transforming personal relationship with the person of Jesus Christ. So, therein lies the answer. While there is absolutely nothing a person can do to achieve a clean heart, God can and wants to do just that for everyone because all human beings are created in His image.

It becomes a matter of personal choice and a decision of the will. In Psalm 51:1-2 we read King David’s prayer,” Have mercy on me O God…cleanse me from my sin…create in me a pure clean heart.” David is pleading with God to make his heart new, forgive his sin and receive the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit to keep it pure so he can have a restored loving relationship with God in the present and for all eternity. God is waiting to cleanse your heart today. All you need to do is ask. It’s that simple. Why wait? No one is assured of tomorrow. If you’d like to learn more about how God can give you a clean heart, check out our post:  How does one become a Christian?

Image by un-perfekt from Pixabay

Truth, what is it? Can it be found? Are there Objective Truths?

Truth, what is it? Can it be found? Are there Objective Truths?

Let’s begin answering this three-part question by defining truth. Truth is an assertion that can be proven through measurement. It is true, for example, that a cup can hold tea. We can prove the assertion by pouring tea into a cup and noting that it stays in the cup. Truth can also be an assertion or belief that cannot be falsified or one that is supported by a preponderance of evidence. Though no one living has seen or talked with Julius Caeser, we accept as true that he lived, ruled and was murdered because we have copies of writings of people who lived at the time of Caeser. In the same way, we know about Jesus of Nazareth because of the written and oral testimony of his contemporaries.

Finding truth can be a bit more complex especially as it relates to the great questions about life and death, why we can think and feel and love and communicate, and why the world is as it is. We’re going to present several ways that you can begin to understand some of the greatest truths in the universe. Let’s begin with nature.

God uses creation to reveal two basic truths: 1) that there is a God; and 2)that He is all powerful. In his letter to the church in Rome, Paul, an apostle of Jesus, wrote: “since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20). He’s saying that there any observer of nature can plainly see that only God–a brilliant designer and all-powerful builder could have created it. PauI also explained that some people chose not to accept this basic truth and will “[change] the truth of God into a lie.” Romans 1:18, 26. And for that, there will be harsh consequences.

Of course, the primary way to find God’s truth is by reading the Bible. However, God is a concealer as we learn from conveyor of wisdom who penned these words more than 2500 years ago: “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” (Prov. 25:2) Why would he do that?  Typically, the truth is concealed from those persons who don’t want to listen to the truth and have hardened their hearts against it. For example, parables were used by Jesus, the Christ (Messiah or Anointed One) for the purpose of concealing truth and preventing understanding. (Matt. 13:13-15.) So, the best way to find truth is to allow the Holy Spirit to teach it to you.

The Holy Spirit will “guide” you into all truth. (John 15:26, 16:13 “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father even the Spirit of truth …When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” His guidance is not only as to Biblical truth, but to all truth. If  something is true, he will reveal it to you as being true. If something is false, he will show you that it is not true. Quietly listening to this Holy Spirit, who dwells within those who are God’s children, often brings to mind the very truths for which we are searching.

Are there objective truths? Yes. Objective truth is factual. It matches up with reality. For example, the Bible explains the location of God’s temple at the time of Christ, to be in Jerusalem. That is factual. The law of gravity is objective Truth. It is not dependent on subjective opinion. There can only be one objective truth. It can’t be “your truth” vs. “my truth.” Subjective truth, on the other hand, is rooted in the opinions of each individual and therefore may not be truth at all.

For a believer who wants to know God’s truth, he or she should start with the Bible. The Bible is a collection of 66 documents or books written through the divine inspiration of God over the course of 1500 years and preserved and translated in most of the world’s languages. Asking the Holy Spirit to open up one’s spiritual eyes, a believer will discover that Bible contains wisdom for living and an understanding of the promise of eternal life with God once he or she experiences physical death.

A believer will discover that Biblical truth is best revealed when he or she:

1.) Is spiritually healthy with no unconfessed sin;

2.) Has, to the best of his or her ability, put aside evil practices, 1Peter 2:1-2; Eph. 4:31; and Col.3:8-9; 3.)

3.) Reads with a desire to do so in order to grow up spiritually, 1Tim. 2:1; the Bible is the believer’s spiritual food: bread (Matt. 4:4), apples (Prov. 25:11), honey (Ps.19:10), meat (Heb. 5:12) and milk (1Pet. 2:2) .

4.) Prays for understanding, Ps. 119:18, 34;

5.) Trusts God to give understanding, Prov. 22:17-21 “ … written to thee … that I might make known the certainty of the Words of truth.”

6.) Believes what is read, Ps.119:160;

7.) Approaches the Word with humility; 

8.) Does not try to change what is read; For example, don’t add words to the scripture, don’t leave out words, and stay in the context;

9.) Meditates on it, think on it, day and night, Ps. 1:2, Ps. 119:15; 10.) Study it, 2Tim. 2:15; and 11.) Find from the Word itself how to understand it;

a. By comparing spiritual ideas, 1Cor. 2:12-13;

b. By dividing the Word into separate parts for further understanding, 2Tim. 2:15;

c. By determining who is speaking; for example, in the Psalms we see David speaking for himself and then David switches to speaking for the Lord, Ps. 18:20, 22-25; and

d. By studying similitudes (similarities, likeness, resemblance), Hosea 12:10; by studying contrasts (differences), Amos 3:3 .

 God’s Truths are factual and match up with reality. Creation is one of the greatest truths of the Bible. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis1 and Romans 1:20) In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. In this case the Word refers to Jesus (John 1:1). Finally, Jesus said, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life no one comes to the Father but by me.” Have you put your faith and trust in Jesus? If not, why not? He is the only way to eternal life and His Word is Truth, God’s Truth. Today is the day of decision .

What is Repentance? Why is it Important?

What is Repentance? Why is it Important?

Repentance is the desire to turn away from sin and restore one’s relationship with God. Repentance is a decision of the mind and the heart from a genuine sorrow over sin. It is an initial first step when a person decides to put their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. It is not necessarily a one-time event. In fact, it is an ongoing process after a person has been saved or born-again and becomes a new creation in Christ.

(Romans 10:9&10) Why is this true? It is true because we still have a sin nature and do sin from time to time. So, in order to keep openness and joy in our personal relationship with Jesus and experience peace with God we need to repent. Repentance clears away any barriers that can inhibit a truthful dialogue and intimate personal conversation with God. That communication is called prayer and we offer our prayers in Jesus’ name because he is the only advocate and intercessor for humans with God.

John, one of the original 12 disciples of Jesus, expressed this clearly in a letter he wrote near the end of his life.

“If we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:9

This confession is the way we clean our hearts and our minds before God much in the same way as we keep our bodies clean by washing them regularly. But the idea of repentance goes beyond confession. It incorporates the idea of turning around and walking in the other direction. Once we confess our sins, we also ask God to help us avoid sinning in that way again. As we continue our conversations with God (prayer) and allow His spirit to guide our paths we will discover that resisting temptation and turning from sin becomes progressively easier. In other words, sin loses its power over us. Our conscience is the best indicator of this transformation.

Conscience – Your Mind’s Partner

Your conscience is an essential component of being created in God’s image. The conscience is present in every human being from birth. It is the soul’s warning system, which allows human beings to contemplate their motives and actions and make moral decisions/evaluations of what is right and what is wrong. It allows and it enables a person to discern between good and evil, fact and fiction, truth and opinion and what is real and what is not .

The conscience is a companion of the mind and the heart in the soul of every person. The conscience must be informed to the highest moral and spiritual standard, which only happens when it is submitted to the control of the Holy Spirit through knowing God’s Word. The conscience plays an important roll in developing a Biblical worldview. God’s Holy Spirit is the agent that opens the conscience to truth .

(Source- John McArthur Bible Commentary, Page 1617)

Having clean minds and clean hearts is what God wants for all his children. Remember only those who have trusted in Jesus as Lord and Savior are God’s children. Are you a child of God? If you’d like to learn more about how you can become part of God’s family, read our answer to the question: How does One Become a Christian?