Monthly Archives: December 2015

New Year Transformation!

Be Transformed

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  Romans 12:2

Transformation is possible in your life today!  God can take you and I and make something better out of our lives.  The Lord can work a metamorphosis (transformation) in us.  Like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, God can make something beautiful of your life.

To have a total change is to be transformed from the inside out.  That is what the Lord wants for us as humans; to change to be more like Him.  We are to be “formed” after His image.  When we change on the inside we will eventually see change on the outside.

Here are a few areas you can see transformed:

  • Your relationship with God.
  • Your relationship with your spouse.
  • Your relationship with family members, children, parents, etc.
  • Your thinking about life in general.
  • Your thoughts about truth.
  • Your ideas about the “will of God.”
  • Your approach to world events.
  • Your perspective on workplace and school conflict.
  • Your walk in the Bible each day.
  • Your prayers being answered.
  • Your faith being increased.

There are so many other areas that you could see transformed this year. Get your Bible, start reading the Book of Romans and let’s see our lives transformed for the Glory of God.

I am excited as we study the Book of Romans in 2016 at the Wilton Baptist Church.  You are invited to seek transformation with us at 11:00 AM each Sunday.

Transformed Theme 2016

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They Did Not Live Together

They Did Not Live Together

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.  Luke 1:56

When in her home in Nazareth, Mary is visited by the angel Gabriel.  He tells her that she will have a son named Jesus and that He is the Son of God.  She is amazed at what the angel is saying, especially since she had not been married yet, and had never “known” a man in a sexual way.  She was a young woman probably around 16 years of age at the time.  In the past, girls would marry at younger ages than are recommended for today.  She had never lived with anyone other than her parents with whom she was still living.

I have been to Mary’s childhood home in Nazareth (as pictured in photo above).  Around Christmas, news casters may show a film of “The Church of the Annunciation.”  If you see that, you are looking at the general location of where her home was located.

Before Gabriel tells her this amazing announcement, she was already excited because a young man, a distant relative named Joseph, had just been chosen to be her espoused husband.  When couples were espoused to one another, the commitment was just as binding as marriage; the only way out of it was for a divorce.  The difference is that they would not live together or be alone with each other for about a year until they “consummate” the marriage.

Evidently this gave time for the couple to be apart from one another and to ensure that the couple was being virtuous and moral in their relationship.  It would also give time to the young man to get a good job, hold that job, get some land, build or buy a house, and simply be prepared for life.  It would be a time for the young woman to more fully prepare for marriage.  Some women would learn from other successful wives for long periods of time.  That is what happens when Mary goes to see her cousin, the daughter of a priest and husband of a priest.  Elizabeth was a good role-model.

Gabriel continues to amaze Mary with more news about Elizabeth who was already 6 months pregnant.  Mary knew Elizabeth and her priest husband Zacharias had been trying to have a child for years and were past childbearing age.  This was big news.  Upon hearing the news of older cousin Elizabeth, that she was going to have a baby, Mary traveled a 3-4 day walk to the “hill country” outside of Jerusalem from her home in Nazareth.

While visiting, both Mary and Elizabeth are “filled with the Holy Spirit.”  You can read what happens in Luke 1.  After staying with Elizabeth and Zachariah for 3 months, Mary goes to her own home.  Six months later baby Jesus is born.  Joseph and Mary were about a 3-4 days walk away from each other when Mary was impregnated by the Holy Ghost.

Mary was a virgin when she delivered baby Jesus into the world, having never known a man before the birth of Jesus.  This is a miracle in that God the Father gave us His Son.  This Baby, Jesus, is “God in the flesh.” He was born into the world to be the perfect sacrifice so we humans can be forgiven of our sin when we trust in Jesus and His sacrifice on the Cross.

Mary and Joseph did not live together when she became pregnant.  When Mary walks back to Nazareth, Joseph has not seen her for 3 whole months.  That is why he was considering “putting her away” (Matthew 1) because she was pregnant, this was embarrassing, and he knew that he was not the father.

When Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem for the census and ultimately for God’s will that Jesus be born there, they did travel together and apparently alone.  She was already great with child at that point, and yet, she and Joseph did not “know” each other in a sexual way until after the birth of Jesus.  God blesses Mary and Joseph with a few other sons and daughters in the following years.

Today, many couples of any age want to “live together” before being married.  Some do not want to be married at all.  They want to enjoy the benefits that marriage brings but not to commit to the responsibility marriage demands.  If you are in a relationship with someone right now and you are living together “as if you were husband and wife” but have not made the commitment formally, you can do better.  Hebrews 13:4 says:  “Marriage is honourable in all and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

The man should step up and take the responsibility, not just take the benefits.  The woman should be cherished more by the man and he should make the marriage commitment to her.  Don’t let your partner “take” away from you.  “Give” yourself to your partner in marriage.

To make the point, look at the contrast between Charlie Sheen and Tim Tebow.  According to reports, Charlie now is HIV positive and has had immoral contact with as many as 1,400 women in the last 4 years.  The girlfriend he promised to marry stayed with him for a long time, but after realizing that he was never going to marry him left.  Or he kicked her out, depending on which one you talk to.  Tim Tebow on the other hand has remained a virgin.  Even though he is still seeking the one who he will marry one day, he can give to whoever she is, a trustworthy, non-selfish, pure-hearted, and non-disease infected man.  Living together after the public vows and taking the commitment of marriage is God’s intention.

If you have already been having sexual relationships, but are not ready to be married yet, stop living that way and determine to remain abstinent until your wedding day.  If you believe God has given you the one to marry, then find a local church pastor to help you get this marriage commitment settled.  You can be more like Mary and Joseph who honored God’s plan for the home.

This Christmas, thank the Lord for the miracle of the birth of Jesus.  This couple, Mary and Joseph, are a good example to us today.  Because they did the right thing, they were in a position to be blessed.

Are the “Days” in Genesis Alegorical?

The Precious Confidence of Heaven: Let No One Rob You of It

Guest Article by Adam Rollins

             “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.  For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.  For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.  For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.  And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.  Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.  For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward spoken of another day.  There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.  For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.  Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” -Hebrews 4:1-11.

Herein this passage of the Bible (verse 4 in particular), this common 24-hour period of the “seventh day” rest which was regularly and routinely observed each week throughout history is used to foreshadow or prefigure (as most scholars will agree) the eternal rest in heaven.  However, due to what is the widely accepted interpretation of scientific evidence, which is the belief that the earth and all creatures therein evolved over a process of billions of years, many Bible scholars have bought into this claim (being academically popularized) and therefore reject the account of Genesis 1 that the earth was created in six ordinary 24-hour days preceding the “seventh day” mentioned here in Hebrews.  If the scholars who are led to believe that the earth evolved over a period of billions of years are correct, or if (as Gap theorists propose) long ages of time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 is reality, what are the implications toward this passage?  What would therefore be the meaning of this exhortation?  What message of hope, encouragement, or inspiration would this bring to those who profess faith in Christ?

Let’s add this up, shall we?  The text here clearly makes reference to the account Genesis 2:1-3 where after the six days of creation in the previous chapter, God “…rested on the seventh day…”  Being that the passage speaks of the “seventh day”, we must take as a given (without taking irrational spins on the text) that there were six days preceding it.  As the “seventh day” is clearly both individual and ordinal, there had to be six other individual and ordinal days counting up to it (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) as they are listed in the account of Genesis 1.  Given that the text in Hebrews speaks as a foreshadowing of the seven   ordinary, 24-hour days people were familiar with, the author uses this as an allegory to speak of the six days as being the time of our labor and travail in this world.  Likewise, the “seventh day” is given to speak of when our lifetime is ended (as our work during the week should be during the six days) and then entering into our eternal rest in heaven.

But shall we apply an allegory to an allegory?  Many Bible scholars (in order to support an old earth belief, e.g., billions of years) declare that the days in the first chapter of Genesis are not literal 24-hour days but are allegorical days.  Now back up the chuck wagon.  What is an allegory anyway?  The word “allegory” is defined as “a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms; figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another.” -Dictionary.com.  According to the definition of allegory, the author of Hebrews 4 clearly takes the account of the first two chapters of Genesis as literal history or “concrete or material forms” to “represent” the “abstract or spiritual meaning”.  If the events listed in Genesis 1 and 2 are mere allegory, can there be any meaning in the allegory presented in Hebrews 4?  To be strictly honest, the answer would be no.  Attempting to apply an allegory to another allegory stretches logic well past the breaking point and thus renders this passage useless toward gaining genuine hope, encouragement, or inspiration toward the continuance of any spiritual enterprise or life purpose.  Hebrews 4, as a result, would have no practical meaning for anyone except for those who would prefer to pursue a form of pseudo-logic toward their faith.

To think this through logically, it becomes obvious that the author of Hebrews 4 does not view the first 2 chapters of Genesis the same way many Bible scholars do today.  Since “…the scripture cannot be broken…” (John 10:35), there must be something broken in our logic when we hold to the belief that the “days” mentioned in those chapters were allegorical.

From Pastor Harness:  Adam’s logical explanation is helpful.  We must believe Genesis from the very first verse, else, the rest of the Bible cannot be truly believed.  Inform your faith; study Genesis from God’s perspective.  He was there “in the beginning…”

 

 

 

 

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