Rooted and Grounded In Christ

If we fail to understand the cross as it relates to Israel, we will fail to understand Israel in Bible prophecy.

Before the cross, ethnic Israel’s identity as the people of God made them distinct from all other nations, because Israel was covenanted to God through physical circumcision and the Law of Moses. 

Things have changed.

According to Paul, physical circumcision no longer has any value with regards to being in covenant with God, and the system of law with its commandments and regulations under which Israel was to serve God, has been abolished by the death of Christ on the cross.

Writing to the Gentile believers at Ephesus, the apostle Paul says the following:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh

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Rooted and Grounded In Christ

For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

Sometimes people interpret this text as,“Jesus became sin with our sinfulness.”This is common among those who interpret the cross solely as the place of substitution rather than sacrifice, and there is a difference.

Part and parcel to the belief that Christ was made sin with our sinfulness is the belief that Christ was rejected and condemned by God as a sinner when he died on the cross.

Because this view is so prevalent, it isn’t uncommon to hear someone describe the atoning work of Christ as substitutionary atonement rather than sacrificial atonement – there is a difference, a huge difference. Consider the meaning of the two words, substitution and sacrifice.

A substitute takes the…

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Rooted and Grounded In Christ


Do modern day apostles hold an authoritative spiritual position over other christians within the church? Is the growth and effectiveness of the body of Christ dependant on the church’s alignment under their teachings? Is the position of “authority” of which they claim to have over other believers ordained by God? Are they the foundation of the church?

There is no shortage of those who claim to be apostles and if the truth be told, many who who claim to be apostles want to have the preeminence. If those who claim to be apostles really knew what being a true apostle was all about, very few of them would embrace it.

True Biblical apostleship is not about having the preeminence. It is about servanthood. In the book of 1 Corinthians, Paul describes  how he viewed the ministry of an apostle.

For I…

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Several years ago I wrote a very detailed article showing how the “god” portrayed in The Shack is a false god because William P. Young’s gospel was contrary to the truth of God continued in the scriptures. One fellow who embraced The Shack decided to write a post on his site in which he portrayed me as having a relationship with a book, rather than Jesus. He took an excerpt from my article and completely misrepresented my position and my entire article. I’m not sure he even read the article. Here is the excerpt he attempted to deconstruct:

In The Shack, Mack ( the main character) finds true relationship with God in contrast to those who have traditional Christian beliefs based on the Bible. This subtle message qualifies as a wind of doctrine as mentioned in Ephesians 4. There is an undertone within The Shack, that relationship with God is something independent of the written word of God, and nothing could be further from the truth. There is no sweeter, no more assuring, no more real and living relationship with God than knowing him through his Word, especially when the Word is mixed with a prayerful heart. Earnest and heartfelt time in the Word of God, is time spent with God. Relationship with “the god of The Shack” is not true relationship with the Living God, because it is relationship with someone other than the true God we fellowship with in the scriptures. It is through the knowledge of God revealed in his holy written word that we grow in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and as we grow in the Lord we embrace sound doctrine and good biblical theology which makes us spiritually healthy.

Now, I meant every word of that statement, and I hold to it firmly. The Holy Scriptures are the record of God’s faithful word (Titus 1:9). In the scriptures we have the record of God’s revelation of himself (his nature, character, and acts). In scripture, we find that Jesus is the fullness of the revelation of God. Both Jesus and the apostles appealed to the scriptures to prove that Jesus is the testimony of God.

This does not mean that God only speaks to us through the scriptures. God can speak to us in a variety of ways (directly, in visions, dreams, etc) about anything he wants to communicate to us. However, when God truly speaks to us, it is the God who is revealed in the scriptures, who is speaking. If we hear something that is contrary to scripture we are hearing the voice of another and not God. God’s words are always consistent with the truth he has revealed about himself in the scriptures.

People tend to get into the ditch on one side or the other. They either claim that God only speaks through the Bible, or hold the position that the scriptures are not the final authority for doctrine, reprove, correction and instructions in righteousness. Both positions are wrong.

The scriptures are the final authority and the God of scripture wants to be involved in our lives and have fellowship with us and speak to us.





The following statement is from a post I read on twitter: He (God) does not speak to us in our dreams. He has given us his word to know him and that’s the only way to hear him speak. He doesn’t speak outside his word.

The same person also said the following in another tweet: Only in the scriptures do we have evidence that God spoke to people. He doesn’t speak outside his written word now.

While I commend this person’s effort to express loyalty to the written Word of God, the concept that God speaks in no other way than through the Bible is actually contrary to what the Bible itself reveals, both in practice and in revelation of God’s character.

God is not an impersonal God who is uninvolved in our daily lives, and there are times we need God’s specific direction for our lives which can’t be found simply by reading a scripture in the Bible. For example, the New Testament tells us about the wisdom that Joseph needed from God when he was contemplating ending his engagement with Mary. God spoke to Joseph through an angel in a dream.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. ~Matthew 1:18-20

God’s directive wasn’t something Joseph could have read from any scriptural text. Instead, it was specific direction regarding Joseph and Mary’s life. Joseph needed insight and God revealed to him what he ought to do.

Later, God spoke to Joseph in another dream after the birth of Jesus because Herod wanted to kill Jesus (Matthew 2:12-13). God instructed Joseph concerning what he should do to protect the life of the child, Jesus. Joseph did not, and could not open the Old Testament scriptures for such direction.

There are times when we all need wisdom specific to our daily lives. The New Testament tells us, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. ~ James 1:5

We see many accounts in the New Testament where God’s wisdom and counsel were given through personal directives. This is one of the truths that the Bible reveals about the character of God: For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. ~ Proverbs 2:6

Consider when Philip was sent by God to share the gospel with the eunuch who served under Candance the queen of the Ethiopians.

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. ~Acts 8:26-25

Notice, first that an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, then the Spirit of God spoke to Philip. God did not speak to Philip to draw near to the chariot through a Bible passage. A personal directive was needed. There was no biblical text that Philip could have read that would have informed him that a man on a chariot was coming down the road reading the book of Isaiah. Philip needed God to show him this directly and throughout the entirety of scripture we learn that God does indeed speak direction to his people (and sometimes even to pagans) to give wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, and directives.

God spoke to Philip by his Holy Spirit and Philip obeyed. God knew the eunuch was reading from the prophet Isaiah and God knew his heart was ready to hear the gospel. Consequently, God spoke directly to Philip and led him to the eunuch to preach Jesus to him from the scriptures.

In Acts 9 we read about Ananias who was not an apostle or a prophet or even an evangelist as Philip was. The Bible says he was a disciple of Jesus, and Jesus spoke directly to him regarding Paul.

And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. ~ Acts 9:10-18

There is no text in the scriptures that Ananias could have read that would have revealed to him that Saul of Tarsus had encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus. In fact, Saul (who became the apostle Paul), was very educated and well versed in the Old Testament scriptures and with all his scriptural knowledge he had never encountered Jesus until his encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus.

Throughout his ministry, Paul repeatedly appealed to his salvation experience and his encounter with Jesus. Paul certainly didn’t think that God had stopped speaking directly to people, nor did he ever teach that someday God would no longer speak to future generations directly. Such ideas are simply unscriptural and contrary to the character of God as revealed in the scriptures.

The idea that God no longer speaks directly (giving counsel, wisdom, direction, etc.,) just isn’t true. God speaking directly to his people does not undermine the authority of scripture. Paul tells us that all scripture is given by inspiration of God and if profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

The scriptures never declare that scripture is the only way God speaks or communicates with us, because in scripture God spoke directly to people many times such as when He spoke to Peter in Acts 10.

God spoke to Peter in a vision to prepare him to preach the gospel to the gentiles. After Peter came out of the vision, God spoke to him again: While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. ~ Acts 10:19

Peter did not read the sacred scriptures to find out that 3 men were seeking for him. The Spirit of the Lord told Peter that three men were seeking him, and the Spirit of the Lord instructed him to Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. ~ v.20

The Spirit of the Lord not only spoke to Peter, but He also had sent three men whom Peter was to follow. These men had been sent from Cornelius, whom God had spoken to by an angel who appeared to him. Cornelius did not know who Peter was until he was instructed by the angel of God to send for Peter. Cornelius could not have opened the Old Testament texts and found any verse telling him that he needed to hear the gospel from Peter. He needed God’s direct intervention.

In Acts 22 Paul recounts how Jesus told him to leave Jerusalem quickly because the people there would not receive his testimony concerning Jesus. This was not something Paul got from the pages of the Old Testament. He got this directive from Jesus personally.

In Acts 16:6, Paul and Silas were forbidden by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in Asia, but instead were led to Macedonia. How did Paul know that God was sending him and Silas to Macedonia? Did he get that directive from reading the Old Testament? No. He got it through God speaking to him through a vision.

And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; there stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. ~ Acts 16:9-10

The notion that God only speaks through the pages of the Bible is not a well thought out position because God will speak to the hearts of people in many ways. If God did not speak outside of the pages of the Bible, then what good would any of our testimonies be when we tell others how good God has been to us?

God speaking directly does not undermine the importance of the scriptures, but serves a different role altogether. God is a very personal God who wants to be involved in our lives and sometimes we need his specific input with regards to things pertaining to our lives and that specific input can’t necessarily be found in the Bible. Paul and Silas were headed to Asia, but God wanted them in Macedonia. They couldn’t have known this from reading the scriptures because it had to do with God’s specific direction for their ministry. God directed them personally. 

When we consider all that scripture reveals about God’s speaking to individuals we find that it is actually false doctrine to teach that God no longer speaks outside the pages of the Bible. All scripture is profitable for doctrine and all scripture supports that God speaks in many ways to people (directly, in the heart, visions, dreams, through others, etc.).


Rooted and Grounded In Christ

It is not uncommon to hear someone refer to Jesus as the Jewish Messiah or to hear someone say, “the Jews rejected their Messiah.”

Jesus certainly is the Messiah of the Jewish people and he came to redeem the people of Israel. Yet the promise of the Messiah wasn’t a promise to redeem the people of Israel only. The promised Messiah who was to bring deliverance to the people of Israel, would bring salvation to the Gentiles well.

A distinctive characteristic of the Messianic promises is that the Messiah would bring the knowledge of salvation to all nations. One such prophecy, quoted from Isaiah by Matthew, says the following:

Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in…

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Rooted and Grounded In Christ

During the last hours with his disciples, before his crucifixion, Jesus told them that he is the true vine. and that his Father is the husbandman. He expounded to them that without him they could do nothing.

Imagine how they must have felt when they understood that he was about to be taken away. The thought that without Jesus they could nothing must have been overwhelming, especially now that he was returning to the Father.

In John 16:5-6 we read the following: But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

It was in response to this sorrow that Jesus assures them that he was sending a Comforter (one called along side of them): Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I…

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Rooted and Grounded In Christ

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? ~ Matthew 7:11

Nothing speaks more to the liberation of Jesus’s doctrine in contrast to that of the scribes and the Pharisees as the words of Jesus referenced above.

The people had been held as prisioners under the religious doctrine of the scribes and Pharisees for so long, they must have thought of themselves as “evil”, for who could live up to the religious demands of the scribes and Pharisees?

Often the pure in heart feel as if they are evil because they can’t live up to the demands that religiously sanctimonious leaders imposed on them. Unlike the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus’s words gave life.

When Jesus says, “if you being evil know how to give good…

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Rooted and Grounded In Christ

Jesus saith unto them, did ye never read in the scriptures, the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. ~ Matthew 21:42-43

Jesus is the stone which the builders rejected. Who then are the builders who rejected Jesus?

They are the leaders of Israel (the chief priests and Pharisees ~ v. 45). They had corrupted the temple and had made it a den of thieves rather than a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13). Now their house was desolate (Matthew 23:38) and the Kingdom was being taken from them and given to another. Consequently, “there would be not one stone left upon another” of the temple they had…

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More than 5years ago I posted this teaching on my site and it still rings true. Jesus is Lord!

Rooted and Grounded In Christ

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. ~ John 20:30-31

According to the apostle John, the signs which are recorded, which Jesus did, were written so that we might believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

The miracles of Jesus are unique in that they are a witness to his deity. Yet, there are some who teach that Christians can arbitrarily exercise spiritual authority, and do the very same things which Jesus did.

Those who make such claims justify their position by citing the words of Jesus found in John 14:12: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall…

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