The Righter Report

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

The Kalam Cosmological Argument

1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause.

In 2003, scientists Arvind Borde and Alexander Vilenkin and Alan Guth published a paper documenting that the universe cannot be infinitely old (the universe is expanding). It had to have a beginning. Dr. William Lane Craig, a doctor of philosophy and theology, quoted Vilenkin in defense of his Kalam Cosmological Argument:

“It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place (that the universe had a beginning), cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape: they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”

No longer can men argue that the universe has been around forever. Be thinking about a divine Creator.

Jesus is Lord!
– The Righter Report

May 12, 2016 Posted by | Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Science, Theology, Theology Articles, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Impossible Dream

by the Ray Conniff Singers.

Dedicated to what one man did for us at Calvary.

– The Righter Report

March 30, 2016 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , | Leave a comment

Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus

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Dr. Michael Brown is one of the world’s foremost experts on the Biblical Jesus as he relates to Old Testament Judaism and Messianic Rabbinic literature. Dr. Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and is an accomplished Old Testament and Semitic Scholar. He has debated Jewish Rabbis on TV, radio, and on college campuses, and is a prolific author of numerous theological works.

In his 5 volume series he answers objections and provides documentation for questions such as:

If Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, why don’t more Jews believe in him?

If Jesus is the Jewish Messiah, why isn’t there peace on earth?

Why did God allow six million Jews to die in the Holocaust?

Are Jews correct in saying the Messiah will only come once?

Why did the ancient Rabbis apply Isaiah chapter 53 to the Messiah?

Did Jesus really fulfill hundreds of Old Testament prophecies?

Do the Gospels portray a mythical Jesus?

These and scores of other questions and objections are shared by Jews, atheists, and skeptics alike and are answered in Dr. Brown’s following works, available now:

Volume 1 – General and Historical Objections
Volume 2 – Theological Objections
Volume 3 – Objections to Messianic Prophecy
Volume 4 – New Testament Objections
Volume 5 – Traditional Jewish Objections

5 Volume set available Here

– The Righter Report

December 19, 2015 Posted by | God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , | Leave a comment

Addressing the Problem of Evil

Renowned Christian theologian Ravi Zacharias addresses the issue of, “If a good God exists, why then is there evil?”

“Whenever a person raises the problem of evil, they are also positing the existence of good. When you say something is evil you assume something is good. If you assume there’s such a thing as good, you also assume there’s such a thing as a moral law on the basis of which to differentiate between good and evil. If you assume there’s such a thing as a moral law, you must posit a moral law giver, because if there’s not a moral law giver, there’s no moral law. If there’s no moral law, there’s no good. If there’s no good, there’s no evil. So what is their question?” – Ravi Zacharias

Righter Report Opinion: Free will. That’s another answer to the ‘why’ of evil. God created men and angels with free will, to do good or evil, so they can be free moral agents. This is for a limited time, until the final Judgment, or until God levies judgment on men or nations. God gave this free will because there is no true love without freedom to choose either God of Satan. He did this to allow men and angels to operate on their own accords – to test God’s ways, and see if their ways are better, so that in the end there can be a final comparison and determination about whose way was better. We actually see an illustration of this in the 1st and 2nd chapters of the Book of Job – God allowing Satan to challenge his ways.

In the end, God’s righteousness, along with his grace, love and mercy, will prevail, and evil will ultimately be extinguished – not by politically correct men, but by the hand of Almighty God.

– The Righter Report

October 14, 2015 Posted by | Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , | Leave a comment

“THE” Angel of the Lord

In the Old Testament there is a very special ‘angel,’ although when you study this particular individual you will find that this really isn’t an angel at all, but none other than the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ – the God of Israel.

An important thing to note in studing this issue is to understand what the Hebrew word ‘malak’ means. In some passages it means angel. In another passage it is translated ‘messenger’ (Malachi 3:1). But in CONTEXT, when you see this particular angel (“THE” Angel of the Lord) in scripture, he is either speaking or acting as God.

As the linked article below notes, “Angel” in both Hebrew (malak) and Greek (aggelos or angelos) means a messenger, and Jesus as the Word of God (Jn 1:1; Re 19:13-note) is the ultimate Messenger sent from the Father with a message of the good news of God’s covenant love for sinful mankind…”

As you will see in the study, it is none other than Jesus Christ as God in the Burning Bush (Exodus chapter 3).

“At the burning bush, it was THE “Angel of the Lord” Who appeared and Who called to Moses from the midst of the bush; Moses “hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God”.

Exodus 3:2, 3, 4, 5, 6 – And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed…4 When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush & said, “Moses, Moses !” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then He (the Angel of the LORD) said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground. 6 He said also, “I Am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” (an allusion to God’s covenant first with Abram and passed on to and through Isaac and Jacob – see Abrahamic Covenant) Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God (the Angel of the LORD)

TESTIMONIES FROM THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS

Justin Martyr – “Our Christ conversed with Moses out of the bush, in the appearance of fire. And Moses received great strength from Christ, who spake to him…”

Irenaeus – “The Scripture is full of the Son of God’s appearing: sometimes to talk and eat with Abraham, at other times to instruct Noah about the measures of the ark; at another time to seek Adam; at another time to bring down judgment upon Sodom; then again, to direct Jacob in the way; and again, to converse with Moses out of the (burning) bush.”

If you will spend a little time on this study – click the link below – you will understand anew who Moses was speaking with in the burning bush, and who this “Angel of the Lord” really is – the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ.

Special recognition and thanks to Precept Austin for making this study available.

THE Angel of the Lord

Jewish Rabbis Confirm the Messiah Would be God

– The Righter Report

September 23, 2015 Posted by | Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , | Leave a comment

God’s Warning to America

“On Wednesday, April 29, 2015, Messianic Jewish Rabbi, Jonathan Cahn, spoke at the fourth annual Washington—A Man of Prayer event held at the U.S. Capitol, delivered on the 226th anniversary of the inauguration of President George Washington. Cahn’s sermon in Washington was the most anointed prophetic utterance he has ever given, and many members of the Congress were in attendance.” – Freedom Outpost

A Powerful message by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic Jewish Rabbi. There’s no question in my mind that this was a God-given, Spirit-filled message, and a warning to our nation.

Excerpt: “Supreme Court Justices, can you judge the ways of God? Can you, with manmade verdicts, overrule the eternal laws of God? There is another court, and there is another Judge. And before Him, all men and all judges will give account. If a nation’s high court should pass judgment on the Almighty, should you then be surprised if the Almighty should pass judgment on that court and that nation?”

A transcript of the speech can be found at: http://freedomoutpost.com/2015/05/rabbi-jonathan-cahn-gives-america-a-final-warning/

– The Righter Report

May 7, 2015 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Government, History, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rabbi Reveals Messiah’s Name

The Prophecy of Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri and the Messiah’s Return

– The Righter Report

April 8, 2015 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , | Leave a comment

The Immanuel Prophecy

by Pete Righter

Overview: The date: 735 BC.

Israel, aka “Ephraim” (consisting of the northern ten tribes of Israel, i.e. the “Northern Kingdom”) and Judah – aka “The House of David,” or the “Southern Kingdom” – consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin – were at war with each other. Pekah, king of Israel, was allied with Syria in an effort to resist the more powerful forces of the Assyrian empire. Pekah and Syria also sought to overwhelm Judah, sack Jerusalem, take its spoils, and install a pro-Syrian regime, at which time the “now unified” forces of Israel, Syria, and Judah would be in a better position to stand against Assyrian aggression.

In the midst of this menacing scenario we find King Ahaz of Judah, a weak and wicked king who had taken over the throne the year before. In 2 Kings chapter 16 we read,

“Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree.”

Ahaz and the people of Judah were beleaguered and frightened at the prospect of Jerusalem being sacked by the Northern forces.

It was at this time that the Lord God took notice of these events and called on the prophet Isaiah to visit with Ahaz and promise him undeserved deliverance. Isaiah and his son Shear-Jashub, subsequently met with Ahaz at the “end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field” and relayed God’s promise of deliverance. The Lord even told Ahaz to ask for a sign to confirm the promise. Amazingly, Ahaz rebuffed the Lord, saying, “I will not ask (for a sign), neither will I tempt the LORD” (7:12).

The Immanuel Prophecy:

Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you House of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.

In other words, in less than a handful of years, the threats of Pekah of Israel and Rezin of Syria would be removed.

And thus, deliverance from the Lord for the House of David was provided. What’s more, the Bible records that seven centuries later, Isaiah’s prophecy and the Lord’s divine deliverance would came to full fulfillment not only in Israel and Judah, but to the entire world as well.

The Fulfillment (from Matthew chapter 1):

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Key objections concerning the Immanuel prophecy:

Objection 1 – The prophecy was not fulfilled because Jesus was never called Immanuel.

It is often common in the Bible for Biblical personalities to have more than one name, and/or one descriptor. For instance, King Solomon was also called Jedidiah (2 Samuel 12:24-25). And the Lord God himself was called El Shaddai (Lord God Almighty); El Elyon (The Most High God); Adonai (Lord, Master); Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah); Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner); Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd), and Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness), just to name a few.

And even though Immanuel was not the everyday name of Jesus in the 1st century, the prophecy is open-ended and has no specific timeframe attached to it. In matter of fact, Jesus is called Immanuel today in any number of churches around the world, and many churches are aptly named, “The Church of Immanuel”.

It should also be noted that history records no other fulfillment to the name / person of Immanuel. And certainly not in the Old Testament. The name Immanuel is found only three times in the Jewish Tanakh: His birth prophesied (7:14); Immanuel’s “land” would eventually be invaded by the Assyrians (8:8); and Immanuel would thereafter shatter the future attacks on Israel / Judah, for “God is with us” (8:10).

Objection 2 – “Virgin” is not the correct translation for the Hebrew word almah in 7:14.

According to various critics, the Hebrew word for “virgin” in 7:14 that should have been used instead of almah is “betulah.” However, betulah comes with a lot of baggage. For instance, a betulah can be an older woman, rather than a young maiden, since the betulah in Joel 1:8 is a married woman “grieving for the husband of her youth”.

Additionally, the King’s concubines were referred to as betulahs even after they had spent the night with the king in Esther chapter 2.

What’s more, when betulah is used in reference to Rebekah as a virgin (Genesis chapter 24) it came with the qualifier, “nor had any man known her.” The qualifier wasn’t necessary when almah was used.

It should also be noted that an almah in ancient Judaism was always considered a virgin unless there was compelling evidence against her virginity.

The only word in Hebrew that can really signify a young maiden virgin is almah. Also, nowhere in Scripture is an almah seen as one who has lost her virginity.

Finally, when the Jewish rabbis translated the Jewish Tanakh into the Greek (Greek Septuagint) they used the Greek word for virgin “parthenos” – in Isaiah 7:14. That’s the same Greek word from which we get Parthenon- i.e. the Temple of the Virgin Athena!

Objection 3 – Jesus was born 700 years too late to fulfill the sign God have to Ahaz.

Even though the prophecy uses the definite article for the virgin, it nevertheless says nothing about the timing for the fulfillment of the prophecy. It is a future fulfillment, to be sure. In addition, the prophecy centered on, and was given to, the House of David as a whole (7:14) – to the Jewish people.

Some contend the “virgin” (almah, young maiden) was the wife of Isaiah. However, Isaiah’s wife was not a virgin, and the birth of their second son could hardly be considered a “sign” (an unusual occurrence given by the Lord), as the son was born in the usual way. Moreover, the second son – Maher-shalal-hash-baz – was never called or known as Immanuel.

Conclusion –

“In conclusion,” as Dr. Michael L. Brown (distinguished Messianic scholar and author of the 5-volume work, “Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus”) notes, “there is no substance to the argument that Matthew misinterpreted Isaiah 7:14 when he claimed that the prophecy was fulfilled in Yeshua’s (Jesus’) virgin birth. To the contrary, his interpretation reflects genuine insight into a difficult passage of scripture that bears the mark of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.”

Editor’s note: Re. the Star of Bethlehem, which was recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, and accompanied the birth of Christ.

The following quote is from the book “Killing Jesus,” by Bill O’Reilly, page 15 note:

“In 1991, The Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society (volume 32, pages 389-407) noted that Chinese astronomers had observed a long-tailed, slow-moving comet in their skies during March of 5 B.C. This sui-hsing, or “star,” hung in the Capricorn region for more than seventy days. This same comet would have been visible in the skies over Persia, home of the Magi, in the hours just before dawn. Due to the earth’s orbital motion, the comet’s light would have been directly in front of the Magi during their journey – hence, they would have followed the star.”

God bless,

– The Righter Report

March 1, 2015 Posted by | Evangelical, God, History, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , | Leave a comment

We Need God in America Again

November 13, 2014 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Opinion, Politics, Theology, Theology Articles | , , | Leave a comment

God’s Little Troublemakers

By Pete Righter

Some years back if you’d been watching any sports events on TV, you probably saw this one commercial for Lite beer. And there was this one guy – I think his name was Bob Eucker – who always liked to go up into the stands at baseball and football games and stir up trouble. He’d sit down between two guys who were drinking Lite beer and nudge one of them in the ribs and say something like, “That guy sitting on the other side of me says that Lite Beer tastes great.” Well that would get the first guys attention and he’d say, “Oh yeah?” Then he’d turn to the other guy and tell him the first guy said that Lite beer is less filling. And that guy would then get up and look at the first guy and yell, “Tastes great!” And the other guy would yell back, “Less filling!” And the war would be on. The whole stadium would be in an uproar. Then the camera would pan back at Bob Eucker and he would just be sitting back there yucking it up at all the trouble he’d caused.

Well, I’m here today to tell you that God has his own little troublemakers. Wherever the full gospel of Jesus Christ is being preached, God’s little troublemakers are at work. But their mission is to save lives, not stir up unnecessary trouble. Keep that story about Bob Euker in mind as we read from the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Acts:

“Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin (the members of the Jewish ruling council who were trying to sentence Paul to death) and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.” At this, the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth. Then Paul said to Ananias, “God will strike you – you white-washed wall! You sit there to judge me according to the law, yet you yourselves violate the law by commanding that I be struck!” Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees (who didn’t believe in the resurrection and afterlife), and the others Pharisees (who did believe in it), called out in the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee, and I stand on trial today because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.” When he had said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. And there was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who spoke out who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously…..The dispute became so violent that the Roman commander was afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and rescue him by force, and take him back to the barracks. The council was in an uproar.”

One of God’s little troublemakers had struck! Less filling! Tastes great! That’s the kind of thing you sometimes run into when you’re preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Some years ago, an old English preacher by the name of Smith Wigglesworth remarked, “If you leave people as you found them, God is not speaking through you. If you are not making people either mad or glad, there is something wrong with your ministry. If there’s not a (spiritual) war going on, you’re not doing your job.”

Another commentator, a gentleman by the name of Arthur Wallis, speaking on the apostolic style of preaching that we see in the Book of Acts, said, “Such preaching makes indifference to the word of God impossible – it sets the hearers into one of two camps. It’s calculated to either produce a revival or a riot.”

Whether we like it or not, God’s people are sometimes called on to “rock the boat,” and to preach a confrontational gospel. And just what is a confrontational gospel? It’s any message that preaches the entire gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s a message that not only tells the world that Christ is the only way to salvation and eternal life, but it’s also a message that confronts unrighteousness, exposes ambivalence, and challenges people to reexamine their lives to see if they have made Christ not only their Savior, but also the Lord of their lives. The Bible doesn’t say that Jesus is our Lord or Savior. It says he is our Lord and Savior! And when you acknowledge that and advance his gospel with all the dedication, vigor and passion that you can possibly muster, then you too will have become one of God’s “little troublemakers.”

America today is at a crossroads. We have traded in the “tastes great” gospel of Jesus Christ for one that is “less filling.” We have sought to make ungodly people godly without converting them from their sin. We have taught grace without godliness, salvation without repentance, and tolerance in lieu of moral outrage. And as a nation, we have strayed far from the commandments of God.

As Carl Henry so eloquently noted, “America has turned its back on God. It mocks God. Instead it worships a twentieth century Baal, incarnated in sensuality, materialism, and immorality of every kind.”

We see this even in some of our mainline churches today. Over one hundred years ago, Catherine Booth remarked, “It is a bad sign for the Christianity of this day when it provokes so little opposition from the world. When the Church and the world can jog along together side by side comfortably, you may be sure there is something wrong.”

America has gone from a righteous, Christian nation to a predominately pagan, “anything goes” moral sewer of a society, where in the name of tolerance and appeasement we ordain practicing homosexual ministers, engage in the genocide of millions of unborn children, and then we go home and quietly lay down on our couches because we don’t want to give anyone the appearance of being judgmental or intolerant. Do we hate God so much that we will let these outrageous deeds pass without so much as even raising our voices for what’s right in his eyes? Are we so fearful of mortal man and public opinion that we no longer fear the wrath of the Almighty and Invincible King of Kings and Lord of the universe? Are we so gutless and timid about speaking out that we can ignore the righteous blood of Christ and his apostles, who cry out to us from heaven to take a stand for what’s right in the eyes of God? Is this what our faith has come to?

God’s “Little Troublemakers” are a peculiar breed of individuals. They exemplify the notion that once a person is “born from above” and regenerated with the burning fire of God’s Holy Spirit, they then become the instruments of God’s divine plan. God’s word is indelibly inscribed on their hearts and souls. They are incensed when people twist and distort the scriptures in an effort to justify their worldly passions. They start loving the things that God loves and hating the things God hates. Issues of legality and morality are seldom shaded in gray. Matters of conscience become crystal-clear, black and white, good or evil. They have a burning and unquenchable desire to win souls for Christ. The Spirit of Christ compels them. Christianity ceases to become some warm and fuzzy once-a-week Sunday side-show. Instead, it is now a 24 hour-a-day, God-wrought crusade against evil and deception for the salvation of souls. They know that heaven and hell are real, and that we are daily involved in eternal life-and-death struggles for the redemption of mankind. They see worldliness, materialism, and self-gratification as Satan’s time-consuming distractions that only result in more and more people arriving in hell each day. They marvel that the rest of the world is so caught up in it that it hasn’t figured this out yet.

Once anointed with the Holy Spirit, “God’s Little Troublemakers” no longer have a fear of mortal man. They would just as soon walk up to the antichrist and read him the riot act as look at him. They are God’s little spiritually-impassioned wrecking-balls of evangelism and conviction. Though imperfect in the flesh, they are emboldened by the Spirit. Though looked upon as so much self-righteous, despicable rubbish by unregenerate men, they are seen as precious in the eyes of the Lord.

And the paradox of the Old and New Testament prophets and disciples is this: Ultimately, they gave their lives so that others might have the words of eternal life. Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for another.

Now there’s absolutely no doubt that when a confrontational message is preached, there will come those from the pews of our churches and from society at large who will say, “Judge not and you will not be judged” (Matthew 7:1). In reality, their sole intent is to stifle the messenger so they won’t be convicted of their iniquity.

People today are so afraid to speak out on an issue and be labeled as judgmental and intolerant that they’re not speaking out at all. They’re allowing our nation to be utterly destroyed by all manner of iniquity. People who are starting to feel the heat of the conviction of the Holy Spirit for their sins, and who are uncomfortably squirming in their seats, love to quote that verse about not judging just to try to shut you up. They can’t stand the heat. Jesus is not saying that we cannot make judgments about sin – he is saying that we should not be hypocrites if we do. In Matthew 7:5 he says, “You hypocrite, FIRST take the plank out of your own eye, AND THEN you can see clearly TO REMOVE the speck that is in your brothers eye.” Note that it’s okay to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Just make sure that first there’s not a plank in your own eye.

Now I want to remind you that the world generally despised and rejected Jesus Christ. He was looked upon as a radical extremist and a troublemaker of the first order. Today, the unregenerate world looks upon him simply as either a myth or a minister of love, peace and tolerance. But love is often confrontational. It speaks the truth even when the truth is unpopular. Regarding peace, Jesus said (Matthew 10:34-36), “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword (the sword of the Spirit – the word of God – note Hebrews 4:12). For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s own enemies will be members of his own household.” Preaching the entire word of God will do just that. And as for tolerance, Jesus was anything but tolerant. Not once did he compromise God’s word for man’s. He rebuked hypocrisy, exposed sin, and regularly confronted the scurrilous and demonic doctrines of the corrupt religious leaders of his day.

You may remember another one of God’s little troublemakers, Stephen. You see him in Acts chapters six and seven. Stephen was “a man full of God’s grace and power, and he did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.” But the Bible says that opposition arose against him. Why? Because his message was a threat to the religious establishment of his day – an establishment that rejected Jesus Christ and those who proclaimed his message. Here again was a man who would not compromise God’s word for the doctrines of the world. He was wholly and totally committed to God. He was on fire for the Lord. And he was brought into the council of the Sanhedrin to account for his testimony. And here’s what happened next: After a long litany of historic review about the nation of Israel, Stephen looked at the members of the Sanhedrin and cried out,

“You stiff-necked people with uncircumcised hearts and ears!
You always resist the Holy Spirit. Was there ever a prophet
your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who
predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you
have betrayed and murdered him – you who have received the
law that was put into effect through angels, but have not
obeyed it!’ When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this
they were furious, and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen,
full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory
of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’
he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at
the right hand of God.’ At this they covered their ears, and
yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed him….and
they dragged him outside the city and stoned him to death.”
(Acts 7:51-58)

They were furious! They gnashed their teeth and screamed at the top of their lungs! The council was in an uproar.

One of God’s little troublemakers had struck again! So much for “tolerance.” And look at what happened when Stephen rebuked those obstinate people for their sins – the Glory of God appeared! Imagine, if Stephen were standing here today and spoke out against the backslidden and the unregenerate, and he said:

“You stiff-necked and rebellious people – you, who continue to resist the Holy Spirit, reject Jesus Christ, and live for yourselves. What hope can there possibly be for you? When, if ever, are you going to get yourselves right with the Lord?”

How popular would that be?

Why was John the Baptist beheaded? Was he a reed swayed by the breeze of political correctness? Was John one of those guys who wanted everyone to be his buddy? Was he someone who sought after his own well-being and personal indulgences? John the Baptist spoke out strongly against the corrupt religious leaders of his day. He went after King Herod and reminded him of his adultery. He called the Sadducees and Pharisees a “Brood of Vipers!” He wasn’t playing the world’s game and looking out for his own welfare and popularity. He wasn’t practicing “tolerance” and preaching a watered-down gospel that sends people to hell. He was preaching the word of God, trying to turn someone to repentance and salvation, and for that he was labeled a troublemaker and eventually put to death.

Why was Paul beaten and persecuted? Why was James put to death with the sword? Why were the prophets and the apostles martyred? They didn’t go after these guys for preaching love and tolerance. They went after them because they exposed sin, corruption, and idolatry, and took a stand for what’s right in the eyes of God. They were God’s little troublemakers, and the world couldn’t handle it. The world stood convicted of its sin, and in order to justify its own worldliness and unrighteousness it chose instead to kill the messengers. Sound familiar?

And herein lies the crux of this message: Exposing sin and confronting apathy and unrighteousness are critically essential to salvation. Without conviction there is no need for a savior. And if the world has no need for a savior, then Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection has absolutely no relevance or significance.

Now for those in the church who say we shouldn’t “rock the boat,” I ask: “What kind of baptism and faith do we have that calls for almost no separation from the world, produces no personal sacrifice, and breeds practically no animosity towards sin? What kind of born-again experience is it that makes Christ our Savior, but fails to make Him Lord of our lives? And what kind of faith is it that permits us to follow the dictates of this world, and pursue our own pleasures, wants, and feelings, rather than the commandments of God?” What kind of faith is that? James calls it “dead faith.” Where is the evidence of our salvation and new birth if we’re not trying to follow God’s word? We say, “Just confess Jesus and you’re saved.” Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter into heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father.” We say, “Just say this simple prayer and you’re in.” He says, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

A man by the name of Thomas Kempis once wrote, “Many follow Jesus unto the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the cup of His passion.”

Now would you like some sound, scriptural proof that the compromised Church of Jesus Christ has been inundated by the worldly doctrines of tolerance and appeasement? Simply put, there is little or no persecution of Christians in America. Persecution arises when the Gospel of Christ becomes a threat to a perverse and degenerate society. Persecution is evidence that Satan’s demonic empire is being threatened – that sin and corruption are being exposed, and that Satan and his people are starting to feel the heat. Persecution is evidence that one of God’s little troublemakers has smashed the foundations of a self-righteous society, and by God’s righteous Spirit, has brought conviction to the masses. Yet today, the confrontational gospel has yet to shake the foundations of the church, much less the world.

Contrast that with the confrontational message of the early prophets and apostles. King Herod and his “wife” were so incensed by the impassioned discourse of John the Baptist that they had him imprisoned and beheaded. Paul’s teachings so enraged the idol makers of Ephesus that the silversmiths and craftsmen stirred up an enormous riot that almost resulted in Paul’s death. And Stephen’s message before the Sanhedrin so infuriated the Pharisees that they gnashed their teeth and turned into a raging mob. Time after time, from the Old Testament to the New, God’s little troublemakers spoke out against the scourges of political correctness and condemned evil and iniquity. Time after time, they were alienated, branded as troublemakers, and were beaten and put to death for exposing lies, greed, and deception. The world was not worthy of them. They were the ancient gladiators of truth and justice, and they served God with humility and honor. Great are their rewards in heaven. I, for one, am grateful and envious of their passion, courage, and perseverance.

So let this lesson serve you well. Come out of the world and into the faith. Dare to recognize that your eternal rewards are far more encompassing than your earthly desires. Realize that you cannot be a friend of this world and serve Christ too. You will only love the one and hate the other. And understand that in serving your earthly passions you will not only fail to bring the word of salvation to those who tomorrow may pass from this earth into hell, but you will also ultimately antagonize your Creator, to whom you must someday give a full and honest accounting for all you’ve done, or failed to do in this life.

Acknowledgments to Dr. Michael L. Brown and his book, “It’s Time to Rock the Boat,” which formed the backbone of this message.

– The Righter Report

September 27, 2014 Posted by | America, Evangelical, God, Human Interest, Theology, Theology Articles | , , , , , | Leave a comment