Tag: Apostle Paul

The Case for Christ


Photo: LeeStrobel.com

This isn’t regular news today, folks. The following is a message I wrote on the Messages page a number of years ago. This is a summary of Lee Strobel’s testimony of his conversion and of some facts he wrote about in his book, The Case for Christ. May it bless you as much as it does me.

Former award-winning legal editor of The Chicago Tribune, Lee Strobel, who is also a New York Times best-selling author, wrote a fascinating book, The Case for Christ.

Lee Strobel earned his Bachelor of Journalism degree at the University of Missouri and his Master of Studies in Law degree at Yale Law School.

Needless to say, the man is astute, articulate and amassed with knowledge, most specifically in the areas of law and journalism.

Strobel was an atheist, as many well-educated individuals are. It seems that frequently, once people acquire a certain higher level of worldly knowledge, ego can be an enormous hurdle when it comes to the basic understanding of God and the fact that we are His creation. This understanding brings us down to square-one, because humility is the premise in coming to know who God really is. The Biblical principle of having child-like faith and humility in order to be accepted of God (Matthew 18:3-4), can be difficult for those who believe they have accomplished great feats on their own.

As an atheist, with a law degree and the propensity to unearth truth and weigh evidence, or the lack of it, in the balance, Lee Strobel set out to prove the case for, or against, Christ.

In his quest for truth, Strobel studied ancient history, archeological data, historical archives and he interviewed many scholars.

I will never forget one part of the evidence he brought forth in his personal testimony. Strobel said that among the strong evidence for Christ was the fact that many suffered martyrdom for Him. The apostles knew Jesus personally and most of them died a martyr’s death because of their faith, which is strong evidence indeed that Jesus was the Christ. Strobel’s point was, who would die for a liar and a fraud?

I had never considered those facts, until I heard Lee Strobel’s testimony. 

The Apostle Paul’s conversion and martyrdom is most compelling. Paul didn’t walk and talk with Jesus in person, as did the other apostles. In fact, he was “a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee” (Acts 23:6), having studied at the feet of Gamaliel, a renowned teacher of the law in the first century. Gamaliel’s rulings appeared in the Mishnah (Jewish law) and the Paul was his student.

Paul was a devout Jew and subsequently persecuted and killed Christians, believing himself to serve God in the matter (Acts 26).

One day, as he traveled the road to Damascus to capture Christians and bring them to Jerusalem for persecution and to be killed as heretics, Jesus appeared in a great light to Paul and He said, “Saul (his name being Saul at the time), Saul, why do you persecute Me?” (Acts 9)

Paul answered Jesus and said, “Who are you, Lord?”

Jesus said, “I am Jesus whom you persecute.”

Paul said, “Lord, what will you have me to do?”

Jesus said to him, “Arise, and go into the city and it will be told you what you must do.”

Paul entered the city, being led by hand because he was blinded by his vision.

At that time, the Lord spoke to a certain disciple in Damascus by the name of Ananias. The Lord called him, “Ananias;” and Ananias said, “I am here, Lord.”

The Lord told Ananias, “Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight and ask in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for he is praying and has seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.”

The street called Straight still exists in Damascus today. It is called Al-Shari in Arabic and it is the very same street Paul visited and where Ananias lived during 33-36 AD approximately.

Photos: GeolocationStraight Street (Al-Shari), Damascus and Door on Straight Street

This occurred only within approximately one to several years after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. As we look at the ancient street called Straight in the picture above, which has been modernized to a certain degree (close-up original shows brick road and dirt sidewalks), it seems it wasn’t so long ago that Christ walked the earth. Having the ability to look at the very same street brings to life the encounter Paul had with our Lord and Savior.

Paul was converted on that very street. He went on to be an overseer of the early church, which is amazing.

Paul was a very educated man and a devout Jew. He was killing Christians, but after his experience with Jesus on the street called Straight, he was not only converted, but became an overseer of the church. What else, besides this miraculous event, would cause such a conversion?

Paul went on to teach, preach and oversee the church, until he was arrested and finally beheaded for his faith by Nero Caesar.

Certainly this man, Saul of Tarsus, a devout Jew, later to become the Apostle Paul and overseer of Christians, did not lay his neck on Nero’s chop block for any possibility of a deceitful lie and deception.

The Apostle Paul went through a powerful, Spirit-filled conversion and confirmation in the early church, because Jesus Christ is Lord.

Interestingly enough, even Gamaliel, a great leader of the Hebrews, astutely said,

“You men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do as touching these men (the apostles); for before these days, rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody, to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves, who was slain, and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered and brought to naught. After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of taxing and drew away much people after him. He also perished and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. And now I say unto you, refrain from these men and let them alone, for if this counsel, or if this work be of men, it will come to naught; but if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest happily you be found even to fight against God” Acts 5:35-39.

All of the counsel with Gamaliel at that time ended up agreeing with him, believing him to be wise.

It is most notable that the followers of Jesus Christ the Savior did not diminish, as did the others, and many, many more after them; but the followers of Christ grew to profound numbers. In fact, the following of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, without television, radio or internet, grew the world over, only starting with 12 men on foot!

The Word of God tells us,

“For God so loved the world (you and me) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” John 3:16.

If you haven’t already, will you believe and receive the Savior of our souls today? The one who died in our place, to redeem us from sin and pave the way for our entrance into a holy heaven, to be with our most Holy God forever, throughout eternity?

There is only one of two places we will go for eternity, friend, heaven, or hell. Jesus spoke of the punishment of hell for those who refuse to receive His death, His atonement for our sins.

Are you prepared to stand before God and give an account of the life you have lived on this earth? If not, please visit the How Can I Be Saved page of this website. Your eternal destiny depends on it. God bless you.

“Let him who thinks he stands take heed, lest he fall” 1 Corinthians 10:12

Photo credit:SOLOMON

King Solomon

Flickr – Lawrence OP

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, “Whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope” Romans 15:4.

The Lord appeared unto Solomon and asked him what He could give him, because He was pleased with Solomon (1 Kings 3:5). The Word of God tells us that, “Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father” 1 Kings 3:3.

The Lord even appeared unto Solomon a second time, being pleased with Solomon’s sacrifices and the magnificent temple he built for the Lord, and He said to Solomon,

“I have heard your prayer and supplication that you have made before Me. I have hallowed this house, which you have built, to put My name there forever and My eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually; and if you will walk before Me, as David your father walked in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you and will keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom upon Israel forever, as I promised to David your father, saying, ‘There shall not fail thee a man upon the throne of Israel’” 1 Kings 9:3-5.

God promised Solomon that, if he obeyed Him, a king would not fail to sit on the throne of Israel from his lineage forever (including in the new Jerusalem, which God will bring down from heaven to last forever in His righteous kingdom [Revelation 3:12]).

Nevertheless, the Lord continued speaking to Solomon, and He also laid down a severe warning,

“But if you shall at all turn from following Me, you or your children, and will not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for My name, will I cast out of My sight, and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people” 1 Kings 9:6-7.

God’s warnings to Solomon all came to pass after Solomon turned away from following God’s commandments, and the kingdom was later divided from his son, Rehoboam, and the Temple of God was also later destroyed.

Solomon’s weakness was women. He loved strange women from other nations, which God had warned Israel against, and the Bible tells us that they drew his heart away from God, even after the Lord blessed Solomon with two profound visitations and had given him wealth and wisdom beyond anything any other king had ever known (1 Kings 11).

One might ask how in the world, even after the Lord God Almighty appeared unto him twice and bestowed such wealth and wisdom upon him, how in the world could he turn away from God like that and built idols to pagan gods with his strange wives?

It didn’t happen overnight.

The Word of God tells us that God warned Solomon in His own love song, given prophetically through the mouth of Solomon himself, “…the little foxes spoil the vines…” (Song of Solomon 2:15).

Drawing away from God is a gradual process, but sometimes unnoticed, until the fatal fall occurs, because we don’t heed the continuous warnings.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” 1 Corinthians 5:6.

Leaven connotates sin throughout the Bible. This scripture means, “Don’t you know that a little sin ends up defiling the entire body?”

As in Joseph’s example (Genesis 39), we have been instructed time and time again throughout the Word of God to “flee fornication” (1 Corinthians 6:18), “resist the devil” (James 4:7), “neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27). We are not to give “place” to the devil, allowing him any room to take a foothold in our lives. All of these warnings, and many, many more, have been issued in the Word of God to deliver us from the “second death” (Revelation 2:11, Revelation 20:6, Revelation 20:14, Revelation 21:8), which is the lake of fire.

Jesus warned,

“As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of Man shall send forth His angels and they shall gather out of His Kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” Matthew 13:40-42.

The tares, which Jesus spoke of here, are mixed and mingled among the children of God throughout the world today.

Jesus continued,

“So shall it be at the end of the world; the angels shall come forth and sever the wicked from among the just and shall cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” Matthew 13:49-50.

I have encountered people among the Christian community that become very angry when they hear messages such as this one. They really prefer to ignore any such warnings as these throughout the Bible, but would rather read all of the scriptures which focus on God’s love, the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross of Calvary and his unmerited favor.

Yes, all of those scriptures about God’s love and His sacrifice for our sins are in the Word of God, but the warnings are in there too. Scriptures and messages are overflowing throughout the world today about God’s love and His offer of salvation to all mankind; but not many talk about the warnings, or hell. Since there is so much focus on the foundational doctrine of God’s love and His offer of salvation, yet never a warning, the Lord has called a few of us in these last days to focus on the warnings, “pulling them out of the fire (Jude 1:23).

The “milk” of the Word is flowing throughout the world today and many flock to that same message of God’s eternal love and salvation, because they can’t handle anything else (1 Corinthians 3:2).

If these “meaty” messages offend you, if/when you become a mature Christian and you already have confidence in the fact that God has saved you, I pray you might have time to return to this website for some “meat” of the Word (Hebrews 5:12), before the Lord returns. God bless you.

Hundreds of Bible prophecies have been fulfilled and those remaining shall surely come to pass. Are you prepared to stand before God and give an account of the life you have lived on this earth? If not, salvation is only a prayer away. Please visit the How Can I Be Saved page – your eternal destiny depends on it. God bless you.

All written publications on this site may be copied and shared for evangelistic and educational purposes. Did Jesus say, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature — and make sure you copyright it?!” I think not.

God bless you with the Light of the world.

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Everyone Is Tried In the Fire

Everyone Is Tried In the Fire

The Word of God tells us that every one of God’s people will be tried, tested, if you will. The righteous man, Job, said, “He knows the way I take, when He has tried me; I shall come forth as gold” Job 23:10.

King David said, “For You, O God, have proved us; You have tried us, as silver is tried” Psalm 66:10.

The Prophet Daniel said, “Many shall be purified and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand” Daniel 12:10.

The Prophet Zechariah said, “And I will bring the third part through the fire and will refine them, as silver is refined, and will try them, as gold is tried; they shall call on My name and I will hear them. I will say, They are My people; and they shall say, The Lord is my God” Zechariah 13:9.

The Apostle James said, “Blessed is the man that endures temptation, for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love Him” James 1:12.

Jesus said, “I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich and clothed in white raiment, and that the shame of your nakedness does not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” Revelation 3:18.

As the Prophet Daniel said (above), the wicked won’t understand what has just been written, but
“the wise shall understand.”

The message is this: God’s people will be tried in the fire and purified, as gold.

The Apostle Paul said, “Yes, and all who will LIVE GODLY IN CHRIST JESUS shall suffer persecution” 2 Timothy 3:12.

Let’s take another look at that scripture. Did Paul say “some” who live godly, or “a few” who live godly, or “the majority” who live godly shall suffer persecution? We can clearly see that he said ALL.”

I find it interesting that there are preachers today who won’t dare utter the words “persecution” to their congregations; it would be something unpleasant for them to hear, which might run them off.

There are a lot of Calvinists out there who not only back away from the word “godly,” but they surely wouldn’t want to hear a message about suffering for Christ. I will use Joel Osteen’s church as an example. I don’t think we would ever hear him preach a sermon about ALL of us who are “in Christ” suffering persecution. He doesn’t even preach about abstinence from sin, let alone persecution. His church is not exclusive; there are many like it today, Rick Warren’s church, and many who are Calvinists by faith, “once saved, always saved,” and those who “return to the vomit” (2 Peter 2:22).

Those who believe they can live according to the “flesh,” satisfying the lusts of the flesh, and believe they will also receive the reward of heaven, because they repented of sin sometime in the past, are definitely not planning on suffering any persecution, because they aren’t interested in denying the lusts of the flesh, or living godly.

The reason I find this interesting is because there are so many scriptures in the Word of God which tell us otherwise, and inform us in advance that we “will suffer persecution.”

Many will not suffer a martyr’s death, prison, or even ridicule, because possibly their labor for Christ doesn’t involve working in the public spotlight, per se. Albeit, we will all suffer persecution in some manner, or other, if we “live godly,” according to Paul’s testimony in 2 Timothy 3:12.

How so?

If we truly live “godly,” we will also deny ourselves many things in the world that most people consider to be common things, i.e.: staying glued to the TV; watching other than “G” rated movies, or spending too much time watching movies; drinking alcohol; going to bars, or other ungodly places; taking drugs; internet addiction; watching porn; cursing; gossiping; backbiting; casting judgment on others, without knowing their hearts; basically, living worldly lives in many ways. If you have denied yourself these things in today’s world, you are perhaps suffering in the “flesh,” and you are probably ostracized by many others, which is also a form of persecution. I am not going to list a lot of things that come to mind, because they might not necessarily be a sin to some (Romans 14:22); but I can tell you this, if you feel condemned in your heart about something you allow, if you know God has a different plan for you, but you do it anyway, that thing you allow to stand between you and God is a sin, and it can bring about further separation from God – on to a complete backslidden condition. The “little foxes” spoil the vine (Song of Solomon 2:15).

The Word of God tells us, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a LIVING SACRIFICE, HOLY, acceptable unto God, which is your REASONABLE service” Romans 12:1. (emphasis added)

Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (money)” Matthew 6:24. Oh yes, Jesus spoke about money. This thing called money can be a good thing, but the “love of money” is the “root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).

Some of God’s people, as demonstrated in the Parable of the Ten Virgins, will fall asleep spiritually and not allow themselves to be purified before they great tribulation begins, and they will be left behind.

Some, during the great tribulation, will be beheaded (Revelation 20:4) for Jesus’s sake and the Word of God (Revelation 20:4).

Personally, I would rather let go of the things of this world NOW, and focus all of my heart, mind, soul and strength on God, and on the things of God, than to wait and focus on Him LATER, during the great tribulation.

According to God’s Holy Word, there will be many who profess to know God, but who actually did not keep His commandments, or surrender to His will: “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and in Your name cast out devils, and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you that work iniquity” Matthew 7:22-23. In other words, they professed the name of the Lord, but they “worked iniquity,” committed sinful deeds, at the same time.

Jesus said, “And why call Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46.

Some of these will lay their necks down, rather than receive the “mark of the beast,” during the great tribulation (Revelation 20:4), and end up in the lake of fire forever.

Some, tragically, will fear being beheaded so much that they will receive the mark of the beast, which will only provide a very temporary stay of execution – possibly three and a-half years (Revelation 13:5), only to be cast into hell a short time later to suffer for eternity thereafter for receiving the mark of the beast (Revelation 14:9-11)!

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation, and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb, and the smoke of their torment ascends up forever and ever, and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receives the mark of his name” Revelation 14:9-11.

What is your decision?

God wants ALL of you, or NOTHING from you:

Jesus said, “So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth” Revelation 3:16. In other words, either serve Me with your whole heart, or don’t serve me at all, because if you aren’t either, you will be like warm water in My mouth – I will spit you out!

Hundreds of Bible prophecies have been fulfilled and those remaining shall surely come to pass. Are you prepared to stand before God and give an account of the life you have lived on this earth? If not, salvation is only a prayer away. Please visit the How Can I Be Saved page – your eternal destiny depends on it. God bless you.