Giving Honor to Whom Honor is Due

I might not the only one to have witnessed that during a funeral there good things are said about a person who is already dead. Don’t get me wrong, but I can understand those good things must be said to make the family feel uplifted in times of their grief. However, most speakers exaggerate their appreciation to ease the sorrow of the loved ones. This causes me to question the way things are done- what are those good words if the one being honored is already dead? What effect would those affirmations have had if the person honored could still hear the good words about his/her deeds and can receive the actual appreciation of the people who have warmly thanked him for the job well done? Someone said; “being appreciated (honored) is a “need” to every human individual.”

To HONOR someone means to show them special attention and respect. Reasonably, we would expect that a person who is worthy of such attention and respect has done something to merit honor or special recognition. So we might well ask, Whom should we honor, and why is such honor merited? (Watch Tower- Study Edition March 2017). Next, to God, we have parents to be appreciated. Common sense will tell us that we should also appreciate those who have helped us for years and years, those who have influenced us and taught us to live a good life and many other people who deserve to be followed due to their deeds. When we honor someone, we as Christians are sincere to do it. It is a feeling that is free from deceit, and exaggerated and pretentious compliments (Matthew Henry Commentary). All our duty towards one another is summed up in one word, LOVE. This love must have the characteristic of being “unforced or unconstrained.”

Suitably, the people of God must readily render HONOR to Christian servants. We as Christians collaborate with them as they perform their duties. Our honor and support have reasonable Biblical boundaries for we cannot violate and disobey God. The Bible mention that we are to fear God and honor men where honor is due.

1 Peter 2:13-17 says; Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.” If the Bible says we are to honor all men, how much more will we honor a child of God who is our very own brother in Christ’s family?

Matthew Henry in his commentary says;  “Be ready to entertain those who do good: as there is occasion, we must welcome strangers. Bless, and curse not. It means thorough good will; not, bless them when at prayer, and curse them at other times; but bless them always, and curse not at all. True Christian love will make us take part in the sorrows and joys of each other. Labour as much as you can to agree in the same spiritual truths, and when you come short of that, yet agree in affection.”

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor (New American Standard Bible)

Romans13:7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respects; if honor, then honor. (NIV)

Romans 2:10 but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. (NIV)

Someone questions the “scriptural” of honoring Christian Brethren as they claim “only God has the right to honor our deeds.” This statement is debatable as it carries both sides of the coin – true that God will honor our deeds but false that ONLY GOD can and has the right to honor the good works of men. When we see GOOD WORKS done, time, effort and their tenacity to persevere in the work that resulted in good things, why deprive them of good and humble recognition? True, we will be given the greatest recognition in heaven, but the earthly recognition will help encourage individuals to follow, be appreciative of good works witnessed by men. Those who have not seen be able to know the cause of appreciation. This is not against the principles of the Bible but Biblical in the sense that there is “encourage one another” atmosphere, “rejoice with them that rejoice” and setting as an example to all. However, we do not praise them in the sense of praising God for there is only one deserving our Spiritual praise and it is God.

Let us not lose our sense of gratitude and honor. People today have lost their ability to honor good works, Christian brotherhood, and friendships. They have lost their ability to honor relationships. They have lost their ability to honor fathers, and mothers, and grandfathers, and grandmothers. They have lost their ability to honor the leadership in God’s church—or any church, for that matter (speaking of those in the world). (Martin Collins)

Honor is “critically necessary” when it comes to dealing with our physical fathers. Let me go a step farther. Honor is utterly critical when it deals with our Spiritual Father and Savior—that is, God the Father and Jesus Christ, and all the men who labored faithfully for so many years and years to see the Lord’s church continue until this day. The world is full of people whose sense of how to bestow honor is distorted. Truly, we are grateful to know that God allows us to honor those we owe and deserve the honor.

 

What is Life – Living Without God?

People nowadays are so entangled with the “World” and have no time for God. The demands of their needs are so overwhelming that attending to God is an extra burden to deal with. Another observation coming from a man saying; “it is too much of my time to go to Church and seek for the truth.”  People are at the age of “comfort and ease” where seeking is an additional burden to carry. We are in an age of disposables, fast food, fast computers- the internet, fast automobiles, fast travels and many other where the ease and comfort of having their needs are all easy and immediate to get. They feel like religion is out of fashion. By all of these, people treat the life around God as a hindrance to advance and by doing all things “freely.” In other words, God’s way makes a man think and meditate with Spiritual reason and values which are so hard to do. Sinful works are works of darkness. The wicked world keeps us far from this life as they can.

People think the other way around. Christ is hated because sin is loved. While we teach a man to give meaning to their lives by living a life around God, they see this as all waste of time. While we teach life is ultimately meaningless and have no hope or future without Christ, they see no immediate need for that. We teach the essence of life that we are so in need of life’s future, the hope of Salvation than a lonely stage with no audience, no one watching or caring. If Jesus Christ is not a savior of one’s life, their lives have no viable basis for hope!

Life is empty without God.  “Richard Dawkins denies the existence of God and if he is right, his opinion doesn’t actually matter. His words are merely the empty echoes of inanimate chemical reactions firing away in the evolving synapses of his brain.” If Carl Sagan was correct when he said, “the cosmos is all there is or was, or ever will be,” his words composed an epitaph of utter eternal despair” (Daryl Witmer- A life without Christ ).

God gives eternal life to those who believe.  To be in Christ is to be born again. This new birth is from heaven (John 1:12-13). It is the kind of birth the beginning of life; to be born again, is to begin to live anew. We must have a new nature, new principles, new affections, new aims. By our first birth we were corrupt, shapen in sin; therefore we must be made new creatures.  Our savior Jesus Christ came that we may have a life when He said in John 10:10“I come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.” We have to be to Jesus to have life and be entirely different from what we were before. John 17:3 says; “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” For a man to truly live, he must know our Lord Jesus Christ.

To think that man can live without God is to suppose a sunflower can continue to live without light or a rose without water. We, as children of God, is clearly admonished today: “If you seek him, he will be found by you.” This is such a profound principle that it is repeated throughout the Scriptures. The idea is that when we draw near to God, He reveals Himself to us. God does not hide from the seeking heart. Deuteronomy 4:29 says; “But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” Life without God is empty and without a purpose. To live a life without a purpose is meaningless. Let’s be happy and be optimistic about the promise that there will be life eternal for those who follow and obey God’s Word. Remember, our Lord Jesus gave that as a promise to you! (John 14:1)

Practical Atheist

Our world today has an influx of people who do not want regulations, control, policies or directives and even religion. One lady hinted that she did not grow in an environment where rules are observed and punishment is imposed upon violation of rules. Meaning, it seems that rules have never been presented since childhood and the strong opposition for punishment has been so clear. Now, what kind of society are we having with this kind of attitude of the mind? It seems to me that there is an absence of ACCOUNTABILITY. Since there are no restrictions, there are no rights and wrongs – definitely there is no STANDARD to be followed. That makes one to think that he is free to do anything – harmful or not as there are no rules to signify the acts as good or bad. The concept of Atheism can easily come in as they do not want to be subjected and accountable to the rules of God.

Atheists do not believe in the existence of God. They strongly state by definition that there is no God. Though their voice is strong, their reason to be an atheist is so weak to prove that God does not exist.

Ron Rhodes in his argument against atheism says:

“The burden lies on you to prove that evil actually exists in the world. So let me ask you: by what criteria do you judge some things to be evil and other things not to be evil? By what process do you distinguish evil from good?” The atheist may hedge and say: “I just know that some things are evil. It’s obvious.” Don’t accept such an evasive answer. Insist that he tell you how he knows that some things are evil. He must be forced to face the illogical foundation of his belief system.” (Strategies for Dialoguing with Atheists).

From a rabid Atheist to a more moderate called “Practical Atheist or Christian Atheist” both sounded the same but a little difference can be clearly seen in them.

George Smith says: A “Practical atheist, or Christian atheist, is defined as someone who believes in God but lives as if He doesn’t exist.”

Another definition says; “Christian atheism, also called non-realistic Christianity, is a bizarre form of quasi-spiritual philosophy that keeps the forms and practices of Christianity while denying God’s existence. Christian atheists attempt to “de-mythologize” Christianity, doing away with all belief in the supernatural yet maintaining liturgies and corporate worship experiences as meeting humanity’s need for socialization and the communication of lofty ideas.” (Gotquestion.org)

To sum it up, a Practical Atheist believes in God but does not do God’s will. He may believe in God’s existence but does not give importance to God’s commandments. He claims that he belongs to a religious group and goes to the church occasionally but his heart and mind is so far away from God’s teaching. He may profess his religion and yet does not have any Biblical verses to support his claim. They are likened unto a car without a gas. What is the use of a car to travel and transport people when it cannot start and run because it has no gas? What is the use of a light bulb when there is no electricity? Same in religion, what use is your faith when you do not do God’s will?

Our Lord Jesus says, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” (Matthew 15:8)

James also said the same thing; 14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my[b]works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! (James 2:14-19 NKJV).

It is my aim to state that a mere belief or faith is not enough to please God. Non- acceptance of God’s existence and non-obedience of God’s commands do not make any difference. What this author is trying to say is that – Many in religious groups today tried to justify that “all is alright with God” even to the point of someone who do not know God or who deliberately ignore God – CAN STILL BE SAVED. Can you imagine that? He is saying that a car can still be a car and run even without gas or a lightbulb can still give light even without electricity! Listen to the interesting statement of a Pope.

Pope Francis, the Vicar of Christ has good news for atheists according to Catholic online. He said “Atheists can do good and go to heaven too. Jesus died and was raised for them (atheist) as well. His redemptive embrace was for all, not just a chosen few…… The Church wants all men and women to be saved. (Catholic Online) What the “Catholic Online’s” article is stressing that one who considers God foreign or not at all existing, can be saved by God. What a dream! It says, regardless of your religion – may it be christian, pagan, muslim, hindu, Buddhist, or whatever – can all be saved! There is no more church in the Bible – and Christ dying for His church is unnecessary, no more Right and Wrong. No more Word to follow. Wow! This is the same or worst than the Devil’s teaching taught long time ago in the garden of Eden! THIS IS A CLEAR LIE and OPPOSITE TEACHING FROM GOD. THIS IS NOT WHAT THE WORD OF GOD SAYS! This is not TRUE at all. It is interesting that the devil believes in God and yet the Pope claims that one who does not believe in God will be saved by God. Harold Vaughan says; “The Devil is a practical atheist. He knows there is a God, but operates as if there were no God.  He believes in God, but he does not love God. The Devil knows he will give account to God, yet he persists in his rebellion. He acknowledges God, but does not glorify God.” Stephen Charnock said, “The devil knows there is a God, but acts like an atheist; and so do his children.”

What did the truth say? There is no other salvation in any other name except in Christ Jesus –Acts 4:12. Hebrews 5:9 says; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. Additional verses goes back to Jesus as man’s only source of Salvation. Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” ( John 11:25-26) “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also.” ( John 14:6-7) “And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.” ( Matthew 19:29) “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” ( John 5:24) There can be no other source of TRUE guidelines for man to follow except the WORD of God for him to be saved. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”

David Cariaga is the pulpit minister of Convoy Avenue Church of Christ, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Street

The Bundle of Inconsistencies in Atheism

BUNDLE OF INCONSISTENCIES IN ATHEISM

by David Cariaga 

An atheist is “a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods” (Merriam-Webster)

“Many people are atheists because of the way they were brought up or educated, or because they have simply adopted the beliefs of the culture in which they grew up. So someone raised in Communist China is likely to have no belief in God because the education system and culture make being an atheist the natural thing to do. Other people are atheists because they just feel that atheism is right.” BBC Religions 

In atheism, there is no standards, no rule, no law and salvation. We are no better than our pets and any animal. We exist and when we die, we are nothing. No soul, spirit and definitely NO HEAVEN! 

Atheists claim that there is no evidence for the supernatural.

As a Rebuttal: It is the fallacy of “begging the question” to limit the definition of “evidence” to the purely natural, and then use that definition to deny any evidence exists for the supernatural. It is actually a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, if you calibrate a thermometer to measure in the range of zero to 50 degrees, you can’t use it as evidence that nothing ever gets below zero or above 50.

So in order for atheists to prove their assertion that there is no evidence for the supernatural, they would have to devise a way to both affirm and falsify (disprove) the claim. And as one of their own famously said, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. So since a purely naturalist philosophy can never observe the supernatural, it cannot be used to disprove it. Just as the negative assertion “there is no God” cannot be either proved or falsified, neither can the assertion “there is no evidence for the supernatural”. (2017 Words of a Feather)

Ex-atheist, Dr Carl Wieland, Managing director of Creation Ministries International is right when he says, to believe the Bible was not to commit intellectual suicide, but was the logical and consistent position to adopt.” But to an atheist, he has no respect for those Christians who were not willing to defend the Bible’s history, rather saying that “God used evolution” and the like. “The argument is not, and never has been, about ‘the facts’ relating to origins”, Dr Wieland said. “Rather it is all about how the facts are interpreted. Atheists use a framework that begins by rejecting God and His Word. Although they present themselves as rationalists and free thinkers, they are in fact bound by their biases.”

Romans 1:20-22(NIV) aptly sums it up:

20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.22  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.

Our belief in God’s existence is in harmony with history, man’s mental and moral nature, as well as the nature of the universe. It’s the most logical and feasible world view there is. Even if there are doubts, the evidence for the proposition is better than the evidence against it. Atheism solves no problems and answers no questions, but God’s existence fits the facts of Scripture, knowledge and science. In some way, a man discovers himself when he discovers God, and he discovers in God something identical within himself. On the other hand, Atheism is unbelievable. It tells a lie and asks us to believe the unbelievable and tells us it’s true. If we start to discuss truth, it tells us nothing is true, nothing can be known. Confused as I am with their stand, I would like to take Dr. Jason Lisle when he says, “Because an atheist does believe in God, but does not believe that he believes in God , he is simply a walking bundle of inconsistencies.

The most wonderful and greatest thing about God, is that He showed how much He loved us, and that He was willing to give His Son to suffer to save us,so that we can have the hope of eternal life. From the time of creation, the Bible spoke about Jesus with the Father, and His coming to earth was predicted many times in Old Testament prophecy. He came to live with us. His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension are historical facts, and were witnessed by hundreds of people. Jesus is not an imagination of a fairy tale. He is our Saviour, the Son of God who taught us the way to heaven.

David Cariaga is the pulpit minister at the Convoy Avenue Church of Christ in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Truth Road Sign

The search for truth takes people to many different places.  Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”