C.A.P.STONE MINISTRIES

C.A.P.STONE MINISTRIES

PRESENTS

The Writings of Michael C. Lewis

This is a blog that attempts to get at the heart of truth from a fundamental Christian perspective.  The Holy Bible will be the standard by which all content is measured.  Jesus Christ prayed, “Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is truth.”   The “C.A.P.” in C.A.P.STONE MINISTRIES stands for Creation/Apologetics/Prophecy, and those are the three areas of the Christian worldview that will be explored. 
(Scripture quoted from the NKJV)

THE TRUTH WAR:

A Christian Creationist Perspective

I.  THE CLASH OF CONCEPTS

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”  Proverbs 4:23

“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted

from the simplicity that is in Christ.”  IICorinthians 11:3

Junk in, junk out.  In other words, what we conceptualize in our minds will manifest itsel in our behavior, and if we accept ideas that are contrary to truth, we will live the lie we embrace.  Ideas give birth to behavior.  Concepts have consequences.

God gave mankind access to truth through the medium of the written word; the Holy Scriptures, and the person of His Son; the Lord Jesus Chist–the Word breathed out (or inspired), and the Word manifested in a person.  Acceptance of God’s truth is left entirely up to each member of humanity.  Man’s free will was the great privilege given him by the Creator God.  And by this freedom, man can embrace the truth found in God, or he can reject it in favor of whatever theoretical, materialistic notions he can dream up.

Accountability is the key to this conflict.   Will I submit to the words of a holy God, or will I rely on the imaginations of mankind’s intellectual elite?  To whom will we be accountable for “right” and “wrong” behaviors?  Ourselves?  The culture?  Where do our ideas of right and wrong ultimately come from?  Did the immaterial conscience somehow evolve with the physical creature?  Or, did a holy God speak the cosmos and everything it contains into existence?  This writer submits that if God did not make us in His image, we are accountable to no one!

Two of mankind’s oldest ideas are the concepts of humanism, and its theoretical explanation of origins, known as evolution.  These are ideas that operate from the premise that the supernatural does not exist.  They proclaim man as god, or deny the need of the biblical Creator.  Humanism claims that man is the master of his own destiny.  His ideas are based in his material environment.  What he sees, feels, hears, smells, or tastes is reality, and nothing exists apart from that.  The humanist says that the majority consensus rules in morality, and nature is the key to his survival.  His worldview may be secular or atheistic, or he may embrace some form of deity other than the biblical Creator.

The humanistic theory of evolution says it is all about matter, or the material elements of the cosmos which were brought about by natural–or theoretical processes.  The modern evolutionist and the Christian creationist actually share the belief that all material things–stars, planets, sun, and lif itself–sprang from nothing, but the two worldviews branch at this point.

One worldview says there was design and purpose in creation, with mankind made in God’s image, while the other claims that life and humanity were simply products of time plus chance, whose ancestors crawled from some primordial soup.  This theoretical concept makes mankind simply an accidental product of “slime over time”.

The worldview of the evolutionist tells him that if given enough time, all things are possible.  God becomes irrelevant in such a theory, and time reigns divine.  The idea of “millions of years”, becomes the architect of all that exists.

The concept of a Holy Creator God simply cannot be allowed serious consideration in the humanistic/evolutionary worldview.  After all, why should man be held accountable for his behavior if he is just the product of random chance, and follows the innate desires that evolved naturally within him?

Is mankind indeed a cosmic accident in the natural order of things, which began by chance to end in the grave?  Or, is humanity a supernatural creation by a sovereign, benevolent God who lovingly and justly intervenes into human lives for His divine purpose, and humanity’s everlasting good?

Both concepts are matters of faith.  Is it easier to believe in a designer, while obvious design is evident throughout the natural world?  Or, is it easier to believe in random chance despite evidences of design?  The theory of evolution requires blind faith–a faith regardless of what is observed in nature.  This humanistic pseudo-science is obvious rebellion against truth, and its Author, Jesus Christ, who holds His image bearers, mankind, accountable in worship, fellowship, and obedience.

II.  THE LINGERING LIE

“…your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God….”  Genesis 3:5

 

The promise of Eden’s serpent, that mankind could indeed be the master of his own destiny, on a level with his Creator was received as enlightenment by creation’s first couple, and they readily embraced the satanic idea.  This was the lie that gave birth to humanism–mankind’s attempt to usurp the Creator’s authority, and live by his own wisdom and endeavor.  For Adam and Eve, the appeal of the illicit fruit was not the satisfaction of physical hunger; it was the promise of divine insight that would allow them to chart their own course in life.  Earth’s premier couple could have had no idea of the far-reaching effects of their choice to partake of the forbidden tree; that their momentous decision would serve to spiritually disconnect the fellowship of the race of man from his Creator.

Humanism denies the fallen nature of man, prescribing instead to humanity a core of innate goodness.  A philosophy of human dominion and achievement, humanism says that anything bad or evil comes from outside the individual, relegating man as a victim of external forces beyond his control.  It proclaims a bad environment produces the criminal by compromising his basic, natural goodness.  The humanistic philosophy insists that murders, rapes, and thefts are ultimately the fault of an individual’s less than adequate upbringing, and by extension, of his society.

Christianity underscores the fallen or sinful nature of humanity which is the product of mankind’s rebellion against his Creator,  While the Christian understands that a bad environment will feed his sin nature, he also believes that regardless of external forces, mankind is capable of the most debased evil.  The biblical account in the book of Genesis tells us how man fell from a utopian existence–the perfect environment in Eden–to hardship, suffering, and death because of disobedience to his Creator.

God’s way or man’s way became the choice as sin entered the garden.  The “tree of knowledge of good and evil” activated the freewill of man by allowing the possibility of disobedience.  A choice had to be made, and humanity chose poorly, making sin a reality that incurred God’s judgment of toil, suffering and death upon all creation.  The Holy Bible teaches that when Adam and Eve disobeyed the Creator, they indeed gained knowledge by eating the forbidden fruit, because immediately they knew shame and fear, negative emotions that had not existed before sin entered the garden.

Christianity is founded upon the belief in a supernatural Creator of all that is, who justly holds mankind accountable for his evil actions, yet lovingly offers him eternal redemption in the atoning sacrifice of Himself–the Lord, Jesus Christ.  Mankind’s decision to disobey his Maker had to be atoned for to satisfy God’s perfect standard of justice.  And knowing that fallen humanity could never give the pure and holy payment required to cancel such a debt, God settled mankind’s account on Calvary’s cross, so that fellowship could be restored.

From the beginning, God desired man to be a freethinking entity who would whole-heartedly choose to communicate with, worship and serve Him.  And the lie of Eden’s serpent (influenced by Satan) sought to disconnect such a relationship. . . and by his choice, mankind agreed.

III.  THE MORALITY MIX-UP

“There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.”  Proverbs 16:25

“To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.  Titus 1:15

Morals are defined as standards of conduct that are accepted as right and proper.  The secular humanist holds to a belief in human-based morality.  He disregards any supernatural authority on the subject, relegating humanity as the standard of his own behavior.  He believes man is basically good, and the theory of evolution which he embraces insists morality came about by natural processes as mankind evolved.  His worldview tells him that because intellect exists, it must have evolved naturally since the natural world is all there is.

The humanistic concept of morality’s origin can only be theorized since no molecule has ever been discovered that causes nonmaterial ideals such as love, logic, or reason to exist.  If all things moral are indeed human in origin, which society adheres to the correct moral standard?  The diversity of world cultures allows no absolute standard in morality for the humanist.  Relativism necessarily becomes his battle cry.  That which is heralded as wrong for one society is not necessarily wrong for another.  Moral concepts are relegated to the whims of the individual or society.  In other words, the truth of moral law handed down by the Creator becomes moral opinion in the heart of man.

The Christian understands that morality oiginates in the very nature of the Creator, who is holy, just, and true.  And, as the bearers of God’s image, mankind should reflect His morals in human behavior.  To this end, God gave humanity an innate conscience, and supernatural guidance through His word, the Holy Scriptures.

The word “conscience”, when broken down to its base construction, means “with knowledge”, and is a good illustration that mankind is born with a sense of knowledge of right and wrong, or what is good or evil. The conscience is humanity’s voice of moral reason.  It is the judge of right and wrong which resides inside the mind of man.  In the Holy Scriptures, the words “heart” or reins” are often understood as the innermost depths of the mind, or being; a concept modernly defined as the conscience.  The conscience is not foolproof.  It is subject to the sinful nature of its host, and can become defiled, or even dead through neglect, or by constantly disregarding its counsel.  A dead conscience is a silent conscience, and therefore, a useless moral guide.

In His Omniscience, the Creator understood the fallibility of his creature because of sin.  He knew that the human conscience would fail in the face of continual sinful desire, so He set down another, more reliable guide for human behavior in written form to communicate His moral law.  The God-breathed (inspired) Holy Scriptures, compiled in the Holy Bible, contain God’s message of redemption to His fallen creation, and absolute truth in everything they address.  This flies in the face of the humanistic idea of relativism, which argues that truth concepts change from culture to culture and situation to situation, and that absolute truth does not exist.

The Ten Commandments of the Old Testament are examples of God’s static truth.  These moral laws, written by the very “finger of God”, are just as relevant to modern civilization as they were when they were first presented to Moses over three millennia ago.  They teach basic moral law for society, and proper relationship with God.  The laws which govern human cicilizations across this planet have God’s Ten Commandments as their basis, admittedly or not.

All morality is judged by some standard.  If mankind is that standard, as humanism postulates, which man’s morals should we emulate?  Adolf  Hitler’s or Billy Graham’s?  And if an absolute moral standard does not exist above humanity, how can we say the atrocities of Hitler, or Osama Bin Laden were any more immoral than the benevolences of Billy Graham, or Mother Theresa?  After all, isn’t a person’s behavior relative to his situation and cultural norms?  Doesn’t his environment or his breeding regulate his behavior?  Whenever morality is relegated to the standard of humanity instead of God, morals cannot be measured because truth becomes the relativistic opinion of man.

IV.  THE FATAL FRUITS

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” Romans 1:22

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things that are not fitting;” Romans 1:28

The concepts of mankind are ever-changing, and are implemented as perceived human need arises, in specific eras in history.  The Creator, on the other hand, is immutable (unchanging).  Time is His creation, and He sees the end from the beginning.  And because He is all-knowing, His truth–as set forth in Holy Scriptures–is inerrant, infallible, and absolute.

The concept of humanism was born in the satanic hiss of Eden’s serpent, and it spawned the idea of origins without a creator.  This Godless theory was postulated long before Darwin, and the proponents of evolutionary biology before him attempted to give it scientific basis.  And the poisonous fruits it has produced have been devastating to human society.

While humanism gave rise to such ideologies as materialism, racism, communism, and atheism–to name but a few–the theory of evolution became the “science” of choice to give credence to these philosophies.  And, Godless philosophies inevitably give rise to satanic evil.

One idea which arose in the arena of evolutionary thought was the concept of eugenics–The study and practice of selective breeding applied to humans.  This proposition sprang from the mind of Sir Frances Galton, a cousin of Charles Darwin, after he read Darwin’s “Origin of Species” in 1883.  It was this concept, backed by Darwin’s second book, “The Descent of Man” which ushered in the notion that certain races of people were inferior because they were not quite as far along on the evolutionist’s imaginary “tree of life”.  Eugenics postulated that humanity evolved from different species of ape.  As ridiculous as this may appear, it was widely accepted in the scientific community of the day that the caucasian race derived from the most highly “evolved”, and most intelligent of all apes, the chimpanzee, the oriental race from the orangutan, and the black race from the most brutish of apes, the gorilla.  This outlandish theory was even presented in public school textbooks in the 1920’s.

Proponents of eugenics believed that by controlling the reproduction of certain “undesirable people groups” in society, human evolution would take a giant step forward in development.  The eugenicists argued that by limiting, or even disallowing the weak, handicapped, or those perceived as inferior to breed–thereby polluting the human gene pool–the superior “ape” would be allowed to advance more rapidly on his evolutionary journey.  Eugenics, which is based solely on evolutionary theory, was actually put into practice in the Unite States of America, with the forced sterilizations of thousands of people of certain ethnic groups in the early 20th century.

The racial implications of this idea are a matter of history.  The concept of eugenics was carried to the extreme in Nazi Germany.  As a matter of fact, it was the basis–and the justification–for Hitler’s “Final Solution”.  He believed he could help natural selection processes by exterminating certain races he considered to be inferior or subhuman.  A proponent of Darwin, he incorporated evolutionary ideals such as “might makes right” to justify the murder of 11 million people during World War II.  In his book “Mein Kampf”, Hitler proposed that man–a product of nature- had every right to be “as cruel as nature”.  His selective breeding programs were implemented to usher in his idea of the master race, and six million Jews died in sadistic death camps because of this humanistic endeavor.

One more horror must be mentioned in this dark foray into the genocidal history of evolutionary evil.  In the mad scramble to find proof of a human transient species, or “missing link” in humanity’s evolution, the scientific world focused its attention on Australia.  It was believed that the aboriginal peoples of the Australian Outback territories were indeed the ape/men for which scientists had been searching.  The wanton slaughter of the primitive aborigines for museum display, and “specimens” for study nearly eradicated an entire people group in the name of evolutionary science.  This is a blaring testimony to the Godless evil of humanistic ideology.

Atheistic Marxism is yet another poisonous apple in the orchard of humanism.  The suffering and death endured by millions under governments flying the banner of communism–a philosophy which embraces Marxist, and atheistic ideals–is yet another testament to humanism’s dark side.  Thousands died in the U.S.S.R.’s torturous gulags, because of religious belief, or any other societal descent from the Marxist view.  And in China, Mao Tse-tung slaughtered millions of Chinese dissidents in the name of the communist state.  The list could go on.

Atheistic thought in America has given rise to the removal of God from the public square.  It is a matter of historical fact that since 1962, when the Holy Bible was banned from public schools, crime in America, teenage sexual promiscuity–including teen pregnancies–and suicides has risen dramatically.  And, in 1973, the practice of abortion on demand became legal in the U.S.A., resulting in 50 million dead babies in the last 36 years.  After all, according to humanistic thought, the “fetus” is not yet human, but merely a blob of nonsentient tissue, and the property of the pregnant woman.  By law, she has total authority over the life of the unborn child she carries.  The sacredness of human life has been sacrificed on the altar of the woman’s “right to choose”!

In America, the move continues to eradicate the biblical God from society.  This, in a country founded on belief in conscience–“We find these truths to be self-evident. . .”–a creator–“all men are created equal”–and certain God-given, or inalienable rights–“. . .life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Regardless what modern historical revisionists would have us believe about America’s origins, these United States were founded on Judeo-Christian principles and belief!

V.  THE SINFUL SOURCE

“Has God indeed said . . . .?”  Genesis 3:1

“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.  Colossians 2:14

The list of humanism’s fatal fruits could indeed go on, but there is a truth that is foundational to such flawed concepts, and is the real detriment to humanity.  That truth is the reality of sin, or the separation of mankind from his Creator and the absolutes found in Holy Scripture.  Every effect has a cause.  And the reality of sin–which is any human endeavor which transgresses God’s word, will, or way–is the root cause of all humanistic ideology and practice.

Humanism is man’s attempt to eradicate  the biblical notion of sin.  After all, if man is simply an accidental combination of molecules which came together by chance over time, instead of the creature of a God-ordained purpose as found in the biblical record, he is at the mercy of the natural processes by which he was formed.  His actions are ruled by his innate instinct, like any other creature in nature, and any accountability to a Holy Creator God  thereby becomes a non-issue.  Standards of truth and morality simply become the “evolving” opinion of “evolving” mankind, and are naturally determined by relativistic cultural ideals.  These standards will continually change with each new idea, or governmental regime.

Holy Scripture teaches that the Creator, Himself is the standard by which His “image-bearers” (mankind) should conduct themselves in life, in surrendered obedience to His truth and moral law.  He will tolerate nothing short of His perfect standard in His presence.  Deviation from God’s standard becomes deception, disallusionment, and ultimately, spiritual disconnection.

Adam’s fall into sin became humanity’s disconnect from paradise, and from the presence of God, Himself.  The Creator gave mankind a simple command which he promptly disobeyed, and sin was born, infecting all future generations of people with rebellion.  Sin became a part of mankind’s DNA, which infected his physical being with deterioration, and death.  Without God’s intervention, mankind–because of sin–remains spiritually dead, with no hope of reconcilliation with his Maker.  And according to the Holy Scripture, those who remain unreconciled to God are destined for a place of total darkness, and eternal torment–a place called “hell”.

To the Bible-believing Christian, the irony of  humanistic ideology is blaring.  Humanism’s attempt to eradicate the biblical truth of sin from the marketplace of ideas actually makes it a vehicle of sinful practice.  The philosophy of  humanism is like the engine of a train that pulls many cars.  Directly behind this deceptive, yet powerful engine roll the cars of atheism, and evolution, which are followed by numerous cars representing the God-less philosophies of man, which all end with the caboose of spiritual and physical death–sin’s natural end!

While atrocities abound in the name of humanism and its unholy progeny, it is important t realize that this God-less philosophy is merely fertilizer to the seed of sin planted in the heart of man in the beginning.  This seed has grown fast and wild, like kudzu on a southern embankment, and unless it is pruned constantly with the sword of truth, it will take over the Godly pasturelands of freedom, family, and government, and its strong vines will trap humanity in its despair, entangling the world’s majority in its deadly deception.

VI.  UNCOMPROMISING CHRISTIANITY

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,”  Romans 1:18

“who exchanged the truth of God for the lie. . . .”  Romans 1:25

Truth compromised is a lie.

The truth exists as conceptual completeness.  Partial adherence to that which is true is partial acceptance of that which is not.  The philosophies of man have worked to dissect the truth of God since the fall of man in Eden.  The very word of the Creator brings truth into existence in the realm of His creation.  When He speaks, realities happen, and facts come to fruition regardless of the vain imaginings of rebellious man.

There are four truths in Holy Scriptures to which believers must subscribe if the integrity of the Bible is to stand as a beacon of truth and purpose for a floundering, dying world.  They are origins by special creation, the fall of man, the redemption of man, and the consumation of all things.

1. CREATION

Where we are from determines where we are going.  The creation account found in the Holy Bible’s book of Genesis describes a purposeful act of God.  He created everything that exists from nothing, in specific order, by the utterance of His will.  And He proclaimed it all “very good”.  The original creation was complete in function and purpose.  Deception, disease, and predation did not exist on the earth in the beginning.

 The evolutionist’s theory of origins becomes erroneous in the face of God’s perfect creation.  The evolutionary model requires “millions of years” of suffering and death to allow for the idea of change from one species to another to take place, and this supposedly came about only after, by chance, the correct elements accidentally came together to produce life!   According to Holy Scripture, suffering and death were a result of mankind’s sin in the Garden of Eden.  This writer submits that the omnipotent God did not create this world in need of evolutionary processes, nor did He require “millions of years” to bring about His creative endeavor!

God’s account of creation, as recorded in Genesis, is historical in the most literal sense.  Specific things are brought into existence in the context of six solar days–with each day designated by the phrase “morning and evening”, and the number of the day.  It is especially significant to note that God’s created order does not line up with the theorized order of evolutionary thinking.

Time, along with space and matter was derived from the opinion and spoken word of the eternal God, who stands complete within His trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) outside of time.  Time is not a tool used by God to allow evolutionary processes to bring about life.  It is a creation alongside the life that He brought about “In the beginning” with the introduction of “the first day”.  At the end of “the sixth day”, creation was complete and “very good” (perfect).

The humanistic theory of mankind’s origins robs the Creator of His sovereignty.  It vehemenently denies God’s sustaining power in the day by day affairs of the universe while assigning control to naturalistic processes.  Evolution is the deceptive double-edged axe of atheism and naturalism, and as a God-denying philosophy it attempts to chop away at the very tree of truth, which is rooted firmly in God’s inerrant, infallible account of supernatural creation recorded in the first chapter of the first book of the Holy Scriptures.

2.  THE FALL

The Word of God is the Creator’s account of paradise lost by Adam’s initial rebellion in Eden, and paradise regained for mankind by the Creator, Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ.  The book of Genesis records the origin of sin, which explains man’s need of a Redeemer.  Without the account of sin, and the “fall of man” as recorded in the biblical account of origins, mankind cannot fully understand his need for redemption, nor comprehend the sacrifice of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  The doctrine of humanity’s fall into sin is foundational to his understanding of the reconcilliation Christ provided on Calvary’s cross.

One of the great strategies of the humanist is to mythologize the supernatural accounts found in the  Holy Bible, including the very existence of Adam and Eve.  The motivation for this is clear–and satanic.  If the foundational accounts of Holy Scripture can be assigned to the realm of myth, how can the remaining text be trusted as God-inspired reality?   And why did God have to humiliate Himself by suffering the cross?

Adam’s disobedience opened a portal of darkness into God’s creation of light and truth, and humanity’s lot has been to walk this shadowy, sin-cursed world of thorns and death ever since.  Because of his fallen nature, man cannot restore himself, nor can h restore creation to its former pristine state.  His hope and restoration rests wholly upon the God of creation, and is found only in the finished work of Christ upon Calvary’s cross.

3.  THE REDEEMER

The transgression of sin which marred God’s perfect creation had to be atoned for to satisfy His perfect justice.  Man’s attempts to right this wrong are at best, soiled, and at worst, evil.  The innate impurity of man–because of his fallen, sinful nature–disallows the pure sacrificial payment for sin required by God.  The redemption of mankind is only possible if God, Himself, pays the sin-debt, because only God is truly pure, and untainted by sin.  Human attempts at atoning for sin are comparable to a person trying to clean a window with a muddy rag–an impossible task!

The sin-debt was paid in full when Jesus Christ, the perfectly sinless Son of God offered Himself as the sacrificial atonement for all of mankind on the executioner’s cross.  God supernaturally laid all of mankind’s sin upon Christ while He hung on the cross, and poured His wrath upon Him, paying humanity’s sin-debt, while satisfyng God’s perfect sense of justice for all eternity.  When the Lord Jesus cried, “It is finished!” from the cross, the die was cast.  Nothing more could ever be done.  Nothing more is needed!

Humanity’s redemption from the fall was bought by the blood of Jesus Christ.  And because of God’s grace (the unmerited favor of God for man), Christ’s sacrifice is a free gift!  Trusting God’s word, and turning to His will, and way are all that is required for anyone to be saved from the wrath of God he deserves because of his sins.  Fallen humanity can do nothing to earn salvation.  Christ already earned it on the cross!  His payment was sufficient!  Justification and eternal life are free for the asking!

The cross of Chist shows that God’s great desire is to reconcile sinful humanity to Himself, without violating man’s freewill.  The choice still remains; God’s way, or man’s way–just as it was in Eden.

4. FUTURE CONSUMATION

The Holy Scripture teaches that the world in its present deteriorating, fallen state will not exist forever.  The end of all sin will one day be a reality.  There is a future, known only to the omniscient Creator–who stands outside of time–when perfect peace and sinless society will reign throughout eternity.  Jesus Christ will return, paradise will be restored, and those who accept God’s gift of redemption will enjoy the eternal joy of reconciliation with their Maker in a sinless society.

In mankind’s present fallen condition, it is difficult to imagine such a time of endless comfort, and well-being.  Sin’s curse flashes in neon on every avenue of life, and death is ever at the door.  The child endures the hard knocks of growth, only to face the deterioration of age, and finally death.  His only hope rests in God’s salvation, and prophetic promises of eternity future.

Those who refuse Christ’s gift of eternal salvation in this life will suffer eternal torment and separation from their Creator in the next life.  While the child of God wil enjoy the light of God’s love for eternity, those who reject Chrit’s cross of redemption in favor of their humanistic endeavors are destined to suffer the darkness of eternal hopelessness.  Rejection of the omnipotent Creator of the universe who desires mankind’s company for eternity is foolishness to the extreme, but mankind’s ultimate destination–heaven, or hell–is left entirely up to the individual.  And each person can rest assured his decision will be carried to its chosen end by the God of truth.

The Holy Bible is clear, in the future there will be a new heaven, and a new earth where Christ reigns supreme, and sin will be no more.  All transgression against the Living God will have run its course, and Satan, the originator of all sin will himself be totally separated from God and His creation, and spend eternity isolated in his own torments in “the lake of fire”.

VII.  THE CHURCH’S CHALLENGE

“Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Matthew 16:16

“. . . on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of  Hades shall not prevail against it.”        Matthew 16:18

The church must work diligently to maintain the doctrines of special creation, the fall of man, the redemption of man, andthe future consumation of all things.  They must be kept as a cohesive whole.  It is a biblical authority issue.  These doctrines can be considered as links in the chain of truth.  If one link is missing, the entire chain is compromised.

For example, if the biblical doctrine of creation is substituted for humanistic theory, the sovereignty of God, and the purpose of man become archaic fantasy in the face of evolutionary indoctrination.  In such a notion, God loses His control over creation to natural processes, and mankind becomes simply an accidental animal with no purpose except to propagate his species.  His conduct is simply a product of his breeding, and environment, and natural processes over which he has no control.

The doctrine of mankind’s fall becomes a moot point if God is not sovereign.  To whom is mankind accountable if not a sovereign Creator?  Where did the idea of sin come from?

This line of thinking, taken to its logical conclusion says that there is no need of redemption for natural man.  The relevance of Jesus Christ now becomes the question, and God’s promises of consumation and restoration become nice, hopeful stories believed by no one.

The church stands or falls on the Word of the living God.  All 66 books of the Holy Bible are relevant!  The Word of God is the standard by which all science and philosophy must be measured.  The truths found in the Holy Scriptures are the foundation upon which Christ’s church is built.  Remove just one of these foundation stones, and eventually the entire building will fall.

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”  Psalms 11:3

AGENDA

AGENDA
By
Michael C. Lewis

There is a conspiracy at work.
The homosexual movement and women’s rights groups have long been leading society on a downward spiral toward moral depravity. Make no mistake, the family, human society’s basic institution is their target. Consider the following:
Eleven states now recognize “gay marriage” as legal unions, affording these obscenities the same rights and privileges as heterosexual marriages. The military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on homosexuality has been abolished, endangering the unity and morale that warfare demands. Homosexuals are now allowed membership in the Boy Scouts, assuring confusion and consternation to an untold number of future male adolescents. “Reality” programming which promotes deviant sexual lifestyles, such as polygamy, and homosexual or bisexual behavior is running rampant on TV, infecting the minds and hearts of worldwide viewers.  Look for a “polygamy rights” movement on the heels of the homosexual agenda.
The God-given dividing line between male and female has been effectively blurred by the same-sex lobbyists and women’s rights organizations such as the National Organization for Women and Planned Parenthood. These movements were on the forefront of putting our service women on the battlefield as fighting soldiers on the front lines of war. After all, the advocates assure us, the male as defender and protector, and the female as nurturer are simply the archaic notions of obsolete biblical text. They understand, better than many Christians, the Holy Bible is either “absolute” or “obsolete” in its instruction and truth.
Another indicator of our nation’s slide toward depravity is our insistence on killing our unborn. The slaughter of the innocents continues to happen daily in America–under the banner of Women’s Rights.  The number of legal abortions that have been performed in this country alone since 1973 is well over 50,000,000.
As a Bible believer, I understand that we live in a fallen world, led by fallen men and the forces who give them power (see Ephesians 6:12). And that knowledge makes me a conspiracy theorist of sorts, though my beliefs are based less on “theory” and more on Biblical fact. I know that depraved unbelievers will act on their depravity, but I don’t believe all the deviance, or the evils of this world are simply the results of the mistaken decisions of fallible men. There is another, more formidable and insidious power at work.
Every idea of man that contradicts the plan laid out by God in the Holy Bible first originated in the ever-rebelling mind of the first deceiver, Satan. He wants to destroy you and your family, and by extension, all of humanity. It is Satan’s conspiracy against God and God’s creation which we witness in the degradation of human society. And this diabolical agenda is becoming more pervasive in the hour in which we now live.
We live in a time when evil is being promoted, and the good things in society are being vilified. The Holy Bible clearly states that these things will happen. Isn’t it incredible that as I write this, fundamental Bible-believing Christians in America are listed as potential terrorists by various federal law enforcement groups such as Homeland Security? What once was considered a good and positive influence in our country that extended to the whole world is now considered by many as subversive and evil.
Despite all this rampant moral chaos and overt evil infesting our nation, Christians should be aware that the Holy Bible does assure us that good will prevail. Although it may seem that the days of fundamental Christianity are numbered, God will always have His remnant of believers. It is our calling, indeed our mandate to be that remnant of light as we traverse this sad, dark world. After all, this is not our home. For we who believe, there is a rapture right around the corner. We will be taken from the worst of it.
The key to having the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) in times like these is to Read, Retain, and Rest on the promises found in God’s inerrant, infallible and immutable Word. Jesus, Himself assured us, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). And it is the truth which makes us free (John 8:32).
So, even as you observe this generation forsaking the narrow path of righteousness for the six lane super highway that leads to destruction, take heart, Beloved. Light will eventually pierce this present darkness. Jesus Christ, as Lord of lords, and King of kings is coming back to dissipate the current gloom. He will put an end to the satanic agenda which now permeates our culture.
In the mean time, let’s be focused on fulfilling the work of our Lord’s “Great Commission” and snatch as many souls as we can from Satan’s grasp.
Time is of the essence. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

Just a thought . . .

SETTLED

“For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven .” Psalm 119:89

I’m sure that most of us have heard a zealous Christian – probably one of us preachers – say something to the effect of, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it!”  We understand the person is simply saying he believes God’s Word regardless of the world’s ideas or beliefs.  And that is a commendable position to hold.  But I want us to meditate on the truth found in Psalm 119:89.

You see, regardless of whether or not we believe every “jot and tittle” of  Holy Scripture, God’s Word has already been “settled in heaven”.  It is not subject to our belief!  Our unbelief does not negate the truth of it, any more than our belief makes it true.  God said it – THAT makes it true!  As I’ve said elsewhere, when God speaks, reality happens!

Let’s remember that no matter what  ideas, theories, or whimsical notions the secularists shout out, their humanistic reasoning will never negate God’s truth! God has “settled” it, making it totally immutable, or unchanging!

So, don’t worry so much about God’s Word standing as a beacon in these perilous times –  although as Chrisstians, we must “be ready always to give an answer (or defence ) to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 1PETER3:15 – there will always be a remnant shining it around!  Instead of worrying (which is the opposite of faith) let us pray even harder for the unbelievers of our time.  If the politicians and          scientists of our day would come to the saving knowledge of Christ, life would be easier, happier, and much more productive!

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DEAD MAN WAKING

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you of all trespasses.”  Colossians 2:13

Unforgiven, and unsanctified, I walked as a spiritually dead sinner before obeying His call of repentance, and faith.  In and of my natural self, I had no means of gaining life.  I was “dead in my sins”.  The great Apostle Paul said it well, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Corinthians 2:14)

 “Neither can he know them”.

 The Scripures are clear.  Without the Holy Spirit’s guidance and call through the Word of God, the lost sinner cannot attain spiritual life.  Indeed, salvation of sinners rests in God’s providence.  There are many passages of Scripture that remind us that God is sovereign in salvation. (John 6:37, 65  for example).  And yet, after I heard the gospel, I heeded the call!  chose the salvation that was offered me. 

I’ve often pondered God’s sovereignty and man’s free will.  I am aware of the Calvinist/ Armenian conflict that deals with this very issue and  I tend to believe that both sides tend to carry their points of view on this subject to the extreme.  I believe in a third way.  God’s way.  I understand the problem and it is perplexing to say the least.  In my mind, the two sides cannot be totally, humanly, reconciled.  The Calvinist believes that only God’s will is involved in a sinner’s conversion, and the Armenian says it is up to man to choose.

In my own conversion (way back in 1973) there were three elements involved.  They were  testimony, calling, and choice.  My newly converted cousins witnessed to me in a rudimentary way, testifying of their experience with salvation, and I agreed to attend church with them the following Sunday.  At church, the preacher delivered a gospel-centered message, giving me a fuller understanding of sin and salvation, and at the end I chose to repent and trust Jesus Christ.  The choice and promise had been presented clearly in God’s Word, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the  Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13 

The Holy Spirit was of course involved throughout my conversion experience. Indeed, it was He who issued the call from the moment my cousins began witnessing.  And because of His guidance and teaching, I recognized that I was indeed one of the “whosoever”, and I chose to “call upon” Jesus Christ, and I was saved!

I totally believe that God is sovereign over his entire creation–including mankind, His image-bearers.  And, I’ve no doubt that “the powers that be are ordained of God.” (Romans 13:1) Yet, I also believe that man is a free moral agent, who is given the great privilege of choosing whom he will serve (Joshua 24:15).  Since that day in Eden, when God gave mankind the fateful choice of partaking of that fateful tree, mankind has been free to choose! (Genesis 2:17)  And yet, God is completely sovereign . . . .

So, on this issue of God’s sovereignty versus man’s free-will, I humbly bow to the Almighty who spoke through the ancient prophet,

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8,9

When the great C.H. Spurgeon was asked how he could come to terms with sovereignty versus free-will, he replied, “I never try to reconcile old friends.”   That’s my sentiments exactly.  It’s a God-thing, beloved.  And for now, that will do.  The Apostle Paul assures us:

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

1Corinthians 13:12

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C.A.P.STONE FOUNDATIONS

TRUTH IN GENESIS:

Snapshots of foundational belief

By Michael C. Lewis

I.  THE ORIGINAL OPINION

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”  Genesis 1:1

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him;  male and female created he them.”  Genesis 1:27

God spoke and things became.

It’s really that simple.  The omnipotent Creator made a decision and the material world sprang into existence by the force of His will.  The finite cosmos was sculpted by the infinite mind of God, and His medium of choice was the formless clay of nothingness.  Space, time, and matter are the expressed opinion of the triune Creator of all.  The eternal Spirit created that which can be touched!

Although God is complete (in need of nothing else) in the reciprocal love and relationship found within His Trinity, He chose to reach outside Himself for fellowship, and mankind became the recipient of the capacity for communion with the Divine.

By consensus of the Godhead, man was molded into God’s image from the base elements of the earth He created.  Then, in an act of tender intimacy, the God of creation breathed life into man.

The divine CPR.

Dust became a living soul.

The image of God reflected upon us allows us abilities not shared by His other creatures.  Because of the divine image within us we can give and recieve selfless love.  We can bring vision to fulfillment by creating within the confines of time, space, and the materials available to us.  And we can communicate with, and focus our attention on worship and adoration for our Maker.  And, as bearers of this precious image, our lives should continually mirror Him in our behavior.  We should live in holiness, separated unto His service.

The crowning gift bestowed upon mankind by God’s image is the gift of “free will.”  For without it:

Love could not exist.

Human behavior becomes instinct.

Worship becomes religion.

Our freedom of choice is the very reflection of the Almighty’s freedom to say, “Let there be . . . .”

Before death marred the landscape, the earth teemed with physical life that knew only peace and harmony.  And God walked with man and declared it all, “Very good.”  The paradise that was the world at the end of the “sixth day” of creation week began with divine desire, and came to be by the power of His word.  The universe and all it contains is indeed, the product of God’s original opinion.

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II.  THE CONSEQUENTIAL CHOICE

“But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:  for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”  Genesis 2:17

“. . . . Yea, hath God said . . . . ?”  Genesis 3:1

Eden was paradise; a utopian existence that blessed all who dwelt there.  Man and woman had all the necessities and joys of life that walking daily with the Creator could afford.  So, why then did God introduce them to this “tree” of contention in the midst of the Garden?  Why disrupt utopian serenity with such a choice?  And, with myriads of other fruit trees undoubtedly available to them, why would they even consider this lone, forbidden one?

Consider this.

Without the forbidden, and without the temptation to choose wrong, man is not truly free to choose right.  Choice had to be introduced into the equation of God’s perfect creation if man was to be the free moral agent, and reflector of the divine image entrusted to him.  So, God planted the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” in the Garden of Eden and declared, “If you eat of it, you will surely die.”  A line in the sand was drawn.  The possibility of disobedience entered paradise, and a choice had to be made.

Enter evil.  Satan, the first of the fallen, took on the guise of the serpent, and made mankind’s choice even clearer, and mankind’s parents — Adam and Eve — heeded the siren call of temptation.  The evil one’s strategy was then — and continues to be — to give mankind pause when considering God’s infallable Word.  Mankind chose Satan’s introduction of doubt, denial, and distortion of holy instruction over the truth of what God actually said.

Enter sin.  Mankind tasted the forbidden, and a great chasm of separation from God opened up, bringing upon humanity immediate spiritual death, and ultimately all created life began to die.  For mankind, this was the day of the dark disconnect.  Direct fellowship with the divine Spirit of the universe was no longer possible.

This was man’s choice.

And all of creation still groans.

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III.  THE PROMISED PRODIGY

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”     Genesis 3:15

The rise of evil brought on the fall of mankind, as well as the deterioration of God’s creation.  As is always the case, where sin treads, destruction follows.  Because of Adam’s transgression against God’s Holy Word, and the Creator’s subsequent curse, the cosmos began to break down.

God’s perfect character demands justice.  So, in His righteousness, He cursed His creation.  Suffering and death began its rule on the sin-marred earth.  But, there was mercy in God’s judgment, and promise in His curse.

God’s curse upon creation brought about the great spiritual battle between mankind and Satan’s minions, and humanity’s struggle for physical existence.  Because of this consequential curse, mankind now suffers magnified pain in childbirth, the battle of the sexes, toil for sustenance, an uncooperative earth, and banishment from paradise and its “tree of life.”

Yet, God’s mercy is wonderously seen in His very judgment of death for His creation.  The world would not be allowed an eternal existence in its fallen state.  Physical death was His remedy for sin.  He would evict His image bearers from the Garden of Eden, and guard the way to the “tree of life” until a worthy price was paid for humanity’s sin.

Enter grace.  A Redeemer was promised to reconcile sinful mankind to his holy Creator.  A bridge would be built by a future Messiah, to span humanity’s great chasm of spiritual separation from God.

Enter faith.  The promise of the One who would crush the head of the serpent (Satan), and deliver humanity from sin was given.  And all it required of mankind was to trust in their Creator to bring it about!  Again, the bearers of God’s image — now marred by sin — were faced with choice.  They could believe the Word of God, or follow the whims of their own fallen, sinful natures and heed the persistent voice of temptation that soon resonated triumphantly in the world outside of Eden.

The epic journey of mankind now became one of daily choices.  Good versus Evil.  God’s Word or worldly wisdom?  God’s way or humanity’s effort?  Faith in the supernatural unseen Creator, or reliance on the natural senses, and the world He created?

Mankind’s successful trek through a decaying, broken, and evil world would now require trusting God’s promise of a future Redeemer. 

And the faith walk began.

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IV.  THE SOILED SACRIFICE

“Unto Adam also and unto his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”  Genesis 3:21

“But unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect.  And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”  Genesis 4:5

An innocent  animal was slain to cover the shame of the guilty.  Life’s precious blood was spilled to provide skins for clothing at great cost.  This was God’s illustration of sin’s ultimate consequence, and His revelation of required sacrifice.  God’s Word is clear; forgiveness of sin comes only by the shedding of innocent blood (Hebrews 9:22).

This first death became the foreshadow of a sacrificial system that would one day culminate in the work of God’s promised Redeemer.  This was the bloody road to mankind’s undeserved future redemption.  This was God’s provision, and God’s way.

Life outside of Eden began for creation’s premier couple, and they began to have children.  The Bible only names three of the children born to Adam and Eve, but there must have been many more, given Adam’s 930-year lifespan.

Cain and Abel were the first two sons mentioned in Scripture; the farmer, and the shepherd.  Humanity’s first-born, Cain was a tiller of the sin-cursed earth.  He understood the concept of hard labor to harvest a crop from among thistles and thorns.  It is easy to imagine, at the time of sacrifice–a time, place, and method established by God–Cain’s harvest was especially bountiful because of his hard work.  And, because he was proud of it, he decided to sacrifice to God the very best of it, and bless the Creator with the work of his hands.

Enter humanism.  Man’s way versus God’s way.  Ideas have consequences; and ideas that disregard God’s Word, will, or way produce sinful rebellion in the heart of man.

God was not pleased with ehe efforts of Cain to supercede His demand for the blood payment for sin.  Cain could not reach redemption by the work of his hands.  Nor can anyone else.  Any attempt to do so is abomination to God.  He will not respect the effort.

Cain’s rejected sacrifice, compounded by his jealousy of Abel’s accepted blood offering led to the first murder in recorded history, and Cain’s banishment from the presence of God.

And mankind, in willful rebellion against the Creator of all,  determined to fulfill the satanic hiss of the serpent who promised, “Ye shall be as God.”

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V.  THE CIVILIZATIONS CONTRASTED

“And Cain went our from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.”  Genesis 4:16

“And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.”  Genesis 4:26

A fugitive and a vagabond, Cain left the presence of his Maker to establish a civilization based on human endeavor.  His rejection of God’s way, and his unwillingness to turn back to his Creator left humanism his only path.  It is the same path, and the only way available for the unrepentant sinner of today.  Cain and his wife set out to establish a secular civilization east of Eden.

Among the nomads, musicians, and metallurgists found in the descendants of Cain, sin found a home.  Polygamy and murder arose in his descendant, Lamech.

Meanwhile, God blessed Adam and Eve with another son to replace godly Abel, the victim of Cain’s self-centered rage.  They named him Seth, and he adhered to the way of God to raise up his descendants.

It is probable the two societies intermingled; possibly with Adam acting as patriarchal advisor of both.  Undoubtably, some members of Cain’s tribe chose the way of God, while some of the tribe of Seth succumbed to sin’s siren call.  But, after the birth of Seth’s son, Enos, a wondrous thing happened.  Men began to proclaim the God of creation in an organized context, and preach God’s way to those lost in sin.

Enter evangelism.  Because of God’s great love for His image bearers, He would give a continually rebellious humanity a chance at reconcilliation.  And He would do this by the religious means of preaching the promise of the future Messiah, teaching obedience to His Word, and calling all people to worship by way of sacrifice.

By these new religious means, even Cain would have been welcomed back into fellowship with his Maker, had he only repented!  But sadly, the Holy Scriptures give no indication that he ever did.

Cain is a picture of lost humanity.  His God-less leadership led multitudes to hopeless destruction.  He chose to reject the only way of reconcilliation to God.  The same consequences that Cain faced due to his rejection of God’s promise of a future Redeemer holds true for anyone today who rejects the historical Christ!  It is the consequence of eternal separation from God!

Seth and Cain can be seen as representatives of two distinct races of mankind.  But these races have nothing to do with skin color or physical characteristics.  They are spiritual.  In God’s eyes, man’s choice to accept the Redeemer or reject Him determines the race in which he belongs.  The spiritual races of those who are eternally lost or those saved through God’s grace by faith in His promises are the only two cultural divisions the Creator recognizes.  Everything else is human prejudice.

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VI. THE REQUIRED REMNANT

“And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his own image; and called his name Seth:” Genesis 5:3

“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not: for God took him.” Genesis 5:24

Man begets man. The promised Redeemer would descend from the bloodline of the godly Seth. And yet, the promised One would come on the scene as both fully human, and fully God . . . and only God begets God.
Although born in the fallen image of Adam, the faithful Seth would produce the descendants from which God would bring about the supernatural birth of His “Only Begotten”, the man called Jesus Christ. The Messiah would be made in the physical image of man, but filled with the Spirit of God, and become the sinless sacrifice that is required to blot out humanity’s sins.
By the time of Seth, the lure of humanism had taken hold of many of Adam’s descendants. After all, it had been 130 years since anyone had seen this God of creation of whom Adam and Eve often spoke. Why be accountable to some invisible deity when you could plainly see man’s accomplishments everywhere you looked? Man’s cities were growing, and his technologies were advancing. Why should he chain himself to the “god” that couldn’t be seen, heard, tasted, smelled, or touched? So, humanity began to doubt the relevance, and even the existence of the holy Creator.
But, God’s grace abounded, and His prophets proclaimed His Word, and His faithful remnant continued to stand against an ever-darkening world. This was the required remnant from which God would bring His Redeemer. This was the remnant of The Promise.
Out of this remnant there arose a prophet more faithful that any of his day. His name was Enoch, and he walked by faith with God. He prophesied that the Lord would one day come with ten thousands of His saints, and he likely proclaimed God’s judgment coming in a worldwide flood. Enoch was so faithful and close to his Creator, he was translated directly to heaven, bypassing the sting of death. There is only one other person mentioned in Holy Scripture who by-passed death in such a way. The prophet Elijah was taken to heaven in a “chariot of fire”. It is speculated that Enoch and Elijah are the witnesses who will preach in Jerusalem for three and one half years during the great tribulation just before Christ’s return.
God’s remnant stood firm although evil grew by leaps and bounds, and Satan gloated at the success of his influential lies.

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VII. EVIL EPITOMIZED

“There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
“And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”
Genesis 6:4-6

How Satan must have rejoiced as he watched his diabolical plan to destroy God’s creation come to fruition. Most of humanity had succumbed to the lies he first uttered in Eden. And all it had required was a small nudge here, and a quiet whisper there, an occasional lure dangled in the right place, and mankind submitted easily to his basest sinful desires. Even God’s mighty remnant would soon be totally compromised.
The Evil One would depend just so far on humanity’s fallen nature to triumph in his revolt against God and His creation. He would send his own devilish minions into the very midst of humanity and introduce the children of Adam to levels of sexual perversion, violence, and bloodshed never before experienced on the earth. He would route the very image of the Creator from mankind, and produce demonic progeny to rule over them.
The goal of Satan was to pervert the bloodline which was to culminate in the future Redeemer. And his most diabolical move toward that end was to have his demonic legions invade humanity to infect the heart of man with continual evil and to wipe the Sethitic bloodline off the earth. He aspired to make God’s promise of mankind’s future redemption null and void.
Never before or since in human history, has the darkness of sin permeated creation to such extent. Although mankind has endured pockets of evil, enslavement, and even genocide in his volatile history, never has Satan held the entire creation in the grip of evil such as he did during this time.
And God looked down with sadness as He watched mankind embrace the spreading darkness, and become enslaved to its prevailing evil. His heart was broken to know that judgment must now come upon His beloved humanity. But, within that judgment, He would cleanse His creation of all who were separated from Him, and He would preserve the Seed of His promise, as well as that of His creatures. For within the darkness that hung like a pall over the earth, there was still a pin-prick of light piercing the gloom. The remnant lived on in a single family. The last hope for doomed humanity became clear when, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”(6:8)

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VIII. THE DESTINED DELUGE

“And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” Genesis 6:13, 14

“And, behold, I even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.” Genesis 6:17, 18

Judgment declared. All of creation is sentenced to catastrophe on a global scale because of man’s initial foray into sin—a chosen path of separation from his Creator. Humanity’s escapade into immorality and decadence would now culminate in the near-total destruction of mankind and his dominion. And the coming flood of waters would cleanse the planet of all vestiges of Satan’s prevailing reign of evil.
Salvation directed. And God told Noah, the last of His prophets, to build a boat—a 450 foot ark—to save Noah’s family of eight, and the animal kinds of the earth from the coming deluge. This ark of salvation would preserve the seed of God’s creatures, as well as the Seed of His Christ. The holy remnant would survive.
Fellowship desired. God said, “Build the ark, and come inside.” The Creator would ride out the storm of judgment with the faithful, keeping His people secure in His care. This was an act of an unchanging God, who does the same for His children today. He never forsakes His own.
Through the imagination’s eye, we can see the horrors Noah and his family must have experienced, as the only remaining worshippers of the Creator. Outside the sphere of his family, only sin and evil prevailed in all areas of society. His resolve had to have been incredible, his courage rock-solid, and his faith unshakable. For Noah alone remained faithful to the God of creation. He and his sons built the ark regardless of the mocking of scornful neighbors, and despite the fact that rain had never been seen.
Noah, whose name means “rest”, understood that God’s creation was dying, and needed relief from the onslaught of continuous evil wrought by sin. The creation, separated from its Sustainer could only degenerate to destruction, and the faithful prophet was watching it happen in the spiritual and physical chaos around him.
So, approximately 1600 years after creation, Noah preached repentance for 120 years, begging the people to accept God’s promise of redemption from sin while His mercy could still be found. And as this seemingly useless monstrosity of a vessel was in construction before them, the sinful populace of Noah’s day failed to hear the ticking clock of God’s grace winding down.

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IX. THE LONE LIFEBOAT

“And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” Genesis7:1

“And it came to pass after seven days that the waters of the flood were upon the earth.” Genesis 7:10

“. . .and the Lord shut him in.” Genesis 7:16

“. . .and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.” Genesis 7:23

God’s personal invitation: “Rest in my protection, for your faithfulness has bought you passage.” Noah and his family would ride out the coming deluge, with representatives of every animal kind, in the lifeboat of God. And the Creator would actually pilot them through the flood of judgment.
This would be the first generation to realize the wrath of righteousness. Since man’s fall in the garden of God, mercy upon mercy, and grace upon grace had been bestowed upon rebellious humanity, yet they continually rejected the Creator, and His way to reconciliation. And now, it was time for God’s faithful to enter the ark of security while judgment rained.
Judgment day had arrived, yet the Creator would extend His amazing grace to the wicked world one more week. The ark could still be entered. Salvation was still available. There was still room for the repentant.
Then, the waters of wrath burst forth from subterranean chambers, and fell in judgment from the sky. And God shut the door of the ark, resigning all outside to a just fate. Unbridled sin had run its course, and the cleansing of creation began. God would no longer strive with the rebellious humanity of Noah’s day.
Imagine the struggles of doomed humanity as the waters relentlessly rose outside the ark. During the ensuing weeks and months, the race for higher ground would have sparked war and bloodshed on a massive scale as demon-possessed warlords and societal leaders vied for king of the hill.
The ark eventually rose upon the flood to float above the watery grave of the earth. And the sovereignty of God directed the course of His lifeboat of salvation, keeping all life within secure from the storms and struggles raging outside.
The ark is a picture of God’s sovereignty over His salvation. No power on earth or in heaven was able to enter in, or exit the ark once God shut the door. And the waters rose until only those inside God’s lifeboat of salvation remained alive.

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X. COVENANT OF COMFORT

“And God remembered Noah . . . .” Genesis 8:1

“And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.” Genesis 8:21

“While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22

How lonely it must have been to humanity’s eight representatives as they rode out the deluge of judgment. As the last of mankind kept the Lord God’s creatures high and dry in the ark of salvation, how they must have wondered at their plight. Would the creator and destroyer of all creation even remember this pitiful few left afloat on this tiny flooded planet in the vast cosmos of His making?
But, God did remember. Ever-faithful, and ever-present to walk with His chosen through all catastrophe and adversity, He never forgets, nor forsakes His own. After He shut the windows of heaven, the waters assuaged for 150 days, and the sovereign God piloted the ark to rest upon Ararat’s mountain.

The Author of salvation did not forget.

After 53 weeks aboard the ark, the Lord God opened the door and commanded Noah to disembark upon dry land with His creatures. Noah obeyed, and he built an altar of sacrificial worship and thanksgiving with burnt offerings. And God was pleased.
A divine promise of extraordinary mercy was decreed. Although sin would continue because of mankind’s fallen nature, the Creator would never again “curse the ground” in such a world-wide manner. Never again would the Lord God destroy the world’s creatures, or subject the earth with the flood of a global cataclysm. The earth would continue in its cycles of the seasons until the consummation of all things in the future, when Christ will be the source of all light, and sin and its curse will be no more! (Revelation 22:3-5)

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C.A.P.STONE MEDITATIONS

COME TO THE WATER

By Michael C. Lewis

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come, And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17

Water is the stuff of life. It nourishes and sustains, and three quarters of our planet is covered with it. It refreshes and it necessarily precedes the harvest. And, as a metaphor for the life-giving truth found in the Word of God, “living water” brings life to the spiritually dead, and if a weary, journeying Christian will drink of it, he will become refreshed and restored to produce fruit to feed a hungry, dying world.
Come to God’s inerrant, infallible fount of truth. Drink your fill, wash away the filth of this world, and refresh yourself with its precious precepts. Come to the water . . . .

Wading in . . . .

For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89

Most serious writers ply their trade with the understanding of the old adage, “writing is rewriting.” Few published works come about after only a single session at the word processor. Multiple drafts, replete with changes of word or phrase, or even the introduction of new information normally precede the completed story or article.
Thankfully, the Christian guide—the Holy Scriptures—remain wonderfully immutable (unchanged) from the day of Moses to the present. Since the day God first whispered His Word into the ears of His chosen scribes, He has not changed His mind! There has been no divine “rewrite!” As the psalmist assures us, the original words of God stand firm and unchanging—even in heaven!
In the New Testament, our Savior declares that unlike the philosophies and ideologies of man which come and go with each new theory in the market place of ideas, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35. What a gloriously comforting promise! It is this unchanging nature of the Word of God that gives us confidence and security as wayfaring believers navigating through life in an ever-changing, deceitful world!

Swimming out . . . .

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” II Timothy 3:16, 17

Scripture does not “contain” the Word of God; it “is” the Word of God. And as such, “all” of it is profitable to mankind. The more the Christian immerses himself in the precepts of God’s Holy Word, the more he will learn about God (doctrine), the more he will know how to identify what is wrong (reproof), and how to correct that which is wrong (correction), and he will know how to live right with God (instruction in righteousness). God’s Word is “profitable” because it completely equips the Christian to live as an effective and powerful servant of God in all areas of life!
The Lord Jesus Christ showed us how to apply the Word of God to the trials and temptations of life. As He was tempted in the wilderness, the ancient Holy Scriptures were the only answers He employed against the enticements of the evil one (Matthew 4: 1-11). This should be our example to follow when we are confronted by Satan or his minions. We don’t flee from the devil; we confront him with the Word of God!
The Holy Bible is clear that it is a living, and powerful “sword” (Hebrews 4:12) that pierces the heart of man to reveal his sinful nature, and it is also an effective weapon—a “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6: 17) — that arms the Christian and allows him to hold his ground against “the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6: 11)
The Scriptures exhort us to:

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4: 7

Just remember to heed this verse in the order in which it is written. Satanic resistance is a futile exercise for the person who remains in rebellion against God!

Diving deeper . . . .

The Lord Jesus Christ prayed on our behalf:

“Sanctify them with thy truth; thy word is truth.” John 17: 17

Jesus Christ, the “truth” personified (John 14:6), endorsed the written truth of God! Every idea of man must be measured by the inerrant, infallible truth of God’s Word. There is no higher standard.
God’s Holy Word stands “pure” and perfect, regardless of the ideologies of mankind. It has been tried in the fiery trials of human lives, and it has been found to be without impurity! Just as the psalmist proclaims:

“The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” Psalm 12: 6

The preservation of the God-breathed Holy Scriptures is in the hands of our almighty God!

“Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever.” Psalm 12: 7

And finally, consider this remarkable verse:

“I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving-kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” Psalm 138: 2

It is almost impossible to hold God’s Word in too high esteem! While the names of God give general descriptions of God, the Holy Scriptures teach us of the person of God. For example the name, Elohim means “God Almighty”, and speaks of the godhead’s unequaled power, but the Scriptures magnify or expand our knowledge about this omnipotent Being. They teach us that God is also honest and just (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2), and loving (John 3:16)—even the very essence of love (I John 4:8)!
The Holy Scriptures help us to truly know our God as Creator, Savior, and coming King! Explore the depths of God’s Holy Word! And when you swim back to shore, don’t towel off! Let the waters of life sink into your very pores! When we pray, we speak to Him. Let us also listen to what He has to say!

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17

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THE FENCE

By Michael C. Lewis

Sometimes I teeter . . . .

The fence seems relatively safe and noncommittal.  It borders the crossing of two very different roads.  I sit, clinging tenaciously to its smooth rail . . . and procrastinate.

On one side of the fence a wide path opens like a super highway; its billboards flashing neon promises.  A suspicious darkness lies beyond the glitz, and a still, small voice in my head warns of worldly pleasures crouching with velvet shackles.  Yet, the allure of this wide path, with its advertisements of  instant, sensual gratification is strong. . . .tempting me.

On the opposite side of the fence, a narrow path stretches toward a distant brilliant light.  Not much wider than a sheep trail, its shadowy passage requires a provided lamp to light the way.  The provided lamp seems very dim in comparison to the billboards that line the wide path.  It gives just enough illumination for each individual step of the way.  A loving voice calls from the luminescence at the end of this rough, and rocky path proclaiming promises of an eternal hope . . . .but passage to that light at the end looks ponderously slow!

And I remain precariously perched . . . . as time ticks relentlessly by . . . .

The options seem obvious.  The wide path offers indulgences and satisfaction for the “here and now”.  And it reveals only darkness beyond its flashing signs.  While the narrow path offers a hard road to a gloriously bright eternity. . . but a traveler is bound to stumble along its rocky path, or perhaps even lose his way in its dusky darkness!  And his progress would be so slow — just one lighted step at a time!

I cling even harder to my fence of indecision.

The siren song of the wide path is like a powerful magnet to my desires.  Although its fulfillment may be finite, I lean heavily toward its promises of instant pleasure, and gratification!  It is by far, nature’s most appealing path.

And yet . . . the wondrous whisper calls so sweetly from the end of the narrow path, promising eternity . . . and life . . . beyond the hardships of its difficult and foreboding trail!

I must soon decide!  I cannot remain perched here forever . . . I’m bound to fall off!

I feel my very nature pulling me toward the wide path . . . yet, the narrow path’s voice of promise calls so sweetly . . . .

Again, I teeter . . . .

Dear Reader,

Choose wisely . . . .

“Enter ye in at the strait gate:  for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”  Matthew 7:13, 14

But, choose today!

. . . behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”  II Corinthians 6:2

And rest assured . . . .

“For whoso ever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:13

To remain “on the fence” is to choose the wide path “that leadeth to destruction”, because to sit on the fence is to not choose Christ!

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C.A.P.STONE CONCEPTS

SPIRIT WALK

By Michael C. Lewis

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25

The Holy Spirit is received upon the moment of salvation.  He is the third Person of the trinity, and the only reason the Christian becomes the “new creature” Paul speaks of in II Corinthians 5:17.  This miraculous change from sinner to saint has nothing to do with a Christian’s resolve, and everything to do with the Spirit within him.  It is a supernatural transformation orchestrated by the God of creation, Himself.  And for this change to take place within a person, all he has to do is reach out and take the gift of newness of life offered him from the Savior’s hand.

            It is the relationship of an individual with the Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit that determines his Christianity.  Paul made this abundantly clear when he wrote, “. . . Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” Romans 8:9b.  And also, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:14

These verses should put to bed the heretical teachings of some that the receiving of the Holy Spirit is a separate event from the moment of salvation.   Salvation comes “. . . by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Titus 3:5   This “renewing” of a natural born sinner into a “ born again” (John 3:3)  follower of Christ is impossible without the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit “Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Titus 3:6

The wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15) would have us believe that a person must manifest certain miraculous signs—such as speaking in tongues, healings, etc. — as proof of the Holy Spirit’s presence in his life.  The Holy Bible, on the other hand, makes it clear that the proof of the Holy Spirit’s presence is the manifestation of a changed life, which is being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ!

The Spirit walk is all about surrender.  It’s not about us getting more of the Holy Spirit, but it is about the Holy Spirit getting more of us!  We, as born again followers of Christ, must daily choose our guide in life.  Will we walk in our own strength this day, or will we listen closely to the Holy Spirit, and trust Christ as we traverse this fallen world toward home?  As free moral agents, that is our daily privilege, and choice to make.  The more we surrender to the still, small voice of direction within us, the more we will grow in the Christian life.  And the Holy Spirit is most audible within the Word of God.  The psalmist assures us, “The entrance of thy words giveth light, it giveth understanding unto the simple.” Psalm 119:130

The Bible plainly teaches that, for the Christian, the “flesh” or our sinful, natural desires are constantly warring with the “Spirit“of God within us.  The Apostle Paul said, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16

How have you decided to walk today?

INSIDE OUT

By Michael C. Lewis

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  Proverbs 4:23

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  Jeremiah 17:9

Probably one of the worst pieces of advice given to those looking for direction is the counsel to, “Follow your heart.”  I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard this proverb offered as guidance to a young character in a popular movie — indeed, even in real life.  But, I submit that the discerning student of Holy Scriptures should consider the implications of this worldly advice.

The Old and New Testaments teach that the heart is the place where the intellect, emotions, will, and moral conscience reside.  The word, “heart” (leb in Hebrew, and kardia in Greek) is often interchangeable with the word, “mind” in the Bible, and as such, it is the seat of reason and volition (the will).  In other words, the “heart” motivates us to behave in certain ways according to its reasoning.

The problem with “following your heart” is the infection of sin on humanity.  The fallen or sinful condition of man guarantees the deceitfulness of his heart’s counsel — and, if you are unconverted (lost in your sins)  and you remain that way — your heart will ultimately lead you on a sure path to eternal damnation.  The Holy Bible is clear; the unbelieving heart will take you to hell.

Even the person who has embraced the salvation offered freely by God, through His Son, Jesus Christ must choose daily whether to heed to his heart’s natural inclinations, or submit to the guidance of God’s indwelling Spirit.  The Christian remains a free moral agent,  even though his transformation to Christ-likeness has begun.  He will choose every day how he will live.  Submision to the Word, will, and way of God, or digressing to the yearnings of the sinful heart remain his choices.  His Christian growth is measured by the occasions in which he denies his heart’s natural  inclinations, and submits to the supernatural instruction of the the Holy Spirit who resides within him.  The Holy Bible teaches that the battle between the “lust of the flesh” (sinful desire of natural man) and the Spirit is a constant issue in the Christian journey.  The Apostle Paul instructs us:

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”  Galations 5:16

Total conversion, or change into Christ’s image — the ultimate goal of the believer — is a supernatural process that changes the will of natural man, and conforms his mind to that of his Savior, Jesus Christ.  It is a transformation that begins within the believer and works its way outward in Christian behavior.  Through salvation, God supernaturally forms a “new creature”, or new creation out of a fallen, or sinful person.  The Holy Scriptures say:

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  II Corinthians 5:17

 A positional change occurs immediately upon salvation.  The Christian is immediately justified and in right standing with God, because the righteousness of Jesus Christ — who paid mankind’s sin debt on the cross —  is applied to his account.  But, the sanctification process only begins at salvation.  His transformation, ultimately into the image or likeness of his Savior is a lifetime process.  The Christian can rest assured that this change will indeed be brought about.  Again Paul assures us:

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”  Philippians 1:6

The Christian’s reasoning and will began a marked process of change and conformity into a sanctified (holy) creation of God.  As his will is yielded to God, his heart changes.  But, until total sanctification is attained (in heaven), the way of the  naturally sinful heart or the way of his supernatural God remain the Christian’s daily choice.  And, (this is important to understand!) the unsaved, unconverted person has no choice!   The selfish and deceptive yearnings of his naturally sinful heart are his only guidance for life!

The standard of guidance through life should never be the human heart alone.  Humanity’s guidance must come from outside our sinfilled experiences.  The Christian standard comes from God, Himself, in the inspired writings of Holy Scriptures.  The writer of the book of Hebrews declares:

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12

The living Word of God pierces the human heart, and reveals its evil inclinations and motivations.  Its truth reveals the lies and deceptions of our sinful natures.  As it becomes reality to us (through the illumination given by the Holy Spirit — see I Corinthians 2:14), and we accept its precepts and obey its commands, we are transformed, and the light of Christ is revealed in our activities.  Salvation creates an inward change that is revealed in outward behavior.

Can an unsaved person live an outwardly moral and benevolent, even religious life?  Of course, the short answer is “Yes.”  But, the Lord Jesus Christ made this sobering declaration about such people:

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”  Matthew 23:27, 28

Mankind’s resolutions to behave in certain benevolent ways will eventually give way to his sinful condition.  True rehabilitation for the alcoholic, drug addict, or career criminal must begin at the innermost, and darkest part of his being — his heart — to be effective and lasting.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only real hope for transforming deliverance.

The redemption of humanity through the cross of Christ is the only route to eternal change available to man!  It is a total transformation the happens from the inside out!  Follow Jesus Christ for eternal life, or “follow your heart” to your destruction.  The choice seems obvious. 

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