Posted in david platt, missional, prosperity gospel, radical

If you have to put a qualifier in front of “Gospel” it isn’t the Gospel…

By Elizabeth Prata

The American church has a lot to answer for when we all meet Jesus. The “prosperity” gospel has sunk in deep and permeated every corner of the US. Now it’s exported abroad, and polluting churches in India and Africa and elsewhere. The prosperity gospel is no gospel. It teaches congregants to indulge their flesh, seek worldly things, and keep their eyes focused laterally instead of vertically. Joel Osteen is a master of this kind of gospel.

Joel Osteen flatly laid out the main precepts of Prosperity gospel out in a 2005 letter to his flock. “God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us,” Osteen wrote.

No, that’s not what God wants us to do. God wants us to live holy lives, pick up our cross, obey Him, be witnesses for His name, worship Him, be wise, and share the true Gospel all over the world, among other things. (1 Peter 1:15, John 4:24, Matthew 16:24, 1 John 5:2-3, Matthew 10:16, Matthew 28:19). The destiny he laid out for us includes trouble, persecution, hatred, and hardships, (John 16:33, John 15:18, Acts 14:22, 2 Corinthians 6:4).

Continue reading “If you have to put a qualifier in front of “Gospel” it isn’t the Gospel…”
Posted in theology

Please…you need to know Jesus

By Elizabeth Prata

The entire point of having social media, for me, is to point to Jesus. It’s an opportunity to get the scriptures into the public square, to show who Jesus is and why people need Him. Although this video is ultimately a promotion for the G3 Conference, most of this video explains who Jesus is and why we need Him. It is only 2:44 long. The video is very well done.

In his sermon The Heart of the Gospel, Charles Spurgeon opened with the following:

THE heart of the gospel is redemption, and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. They who preach this truth preach the gospel in whatever else they may be mistaken; but they who preach not the atonement, whatever else they declare, have missed the soul and substance of the divine message. In these days I feel bound to go over again the elementary truths of the Gospel. In peaceful times we may feel free to make excursions into interesting districts of truth which lie far afield; but now we must stay at home, and guard the hearths and homes of the church by defending the first principles of the faith. In this age there have risen up in the church itself men who speak perverse things. There be many that trouble us with their philosophies and novel interpretations, whereby they deny the doctrines they profess to teach, and undermine the faith they are pledged to maintain. It is well that some of us, who know what we believe, and have no secret meanings for our words, should just put our foot down and maintain our standing, holding forth the word of life, and plainly declaring the foundation truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Who is Christ? Here is the video-

Posted in theology

Why the United States seems to have gone crazy

By Elizabeth Prata

Yesterday on the blog I asked the question “Is America Under Wrath?” The answer is yes. Humans have been under God’s wrath since the Garden. I noted, however, that there are different kinds of wrath. We think of eternal wrath, as in lost people enduring for their punishment for their sins in hell. We also might think of eschatological wrath, the fire and brimstone kind of holy fury poured out on the world during the end of the last days during the Tribulation. But there is also a sowing and reaping wrath, cataclysmic wrath, and for today’s discussion, the wrath of abandonment.

Continue reading “Why the United States seems to have gone crazy”
Posted in theology

The brevity of a long life

By Elizabeth Prata

Saturday morning on Twitter, Dan Phillips, author of The World Tilting Gospel and God’s Wisdom in Proverbs tweeted of the news of 90-year-old Sean Connery’s death,

Ohhh, no. Saddened. Don’t really know what to say. SUCH an iconic, one-of-a-kind actor. Loved his work since I was a kid. I wish he’d ever shown a glimmer of understanding of the Gospel, let alone faith in Christ. Did he even know a genuine Christian? Celebrity isolates badly.

Tweet
Continue reading “The brevity of a long life”
Posted in gospel

Peace, or trouble? Repentance is the key

Zechariah 14:9 says:

And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.”

The saints know Jesus is coming soon. We are excited to see what He is doing in the world. Not that people are in pain or distress, obviously, but rather that His name is on the lips of many. His glory and power are noticed, and His word is repeated between and among believers and non-believers alike. This ‘crazy time’ isn’t crazy. It is a controlled series of events from the Creator of people, the Creator of the earth and all that is in it. He is telling us something. How many warnings will there be? Not many more, I fear. He has been patient with us, kind and generous. That period of warning will end and after the rapture, the judgments will begin.

Continue reading “Peace, or trouble? Repentance is the key”
Posted in theology

The cost of rejecting Jesus

By Elizabeth Prata

It’s vacation week for much of America. I’m going to go a little easy myself this week and get a bunch of reading done. I thought for this week I’d bring forward some of the early essays I wrote.

With 5,200 essays written here since 2009, there are some you may have missed, lol. You can see my heart even since the earliest days of this blog. This one comes from November 2012.

Continue reading “The cost of rejecting Jesus”

Posted in theology

What was your first reaction to hearing the Gospel?

By Elizabeth Prata

The reactions of the different people in the Bible to hearing the Word of the Lord are wide and varied.

Abraham, upon hearing that in his old age he will father a child: he fell on his face and laughed in delight. (Genesis 17:17).

Sarai: upon hearing she will bear a child in her old age: laughed in herself, scoffing. (Genesis 18:12)

Zechariah was told he will bear a child in his old age, the forerunner to the Messiah. He asked the angel a question, betraying his doubting heart. (Luke 1:18).

Mary was told she will bear the Messiah as a virgin. She asked the angel a question, opening her puzzled heart. (Luke 1:34).

Nicodemus sought Jesus and cautiously cautiously inquired of Him as to the truth. (John 1; 4).

The Shepherds immediately hastened to the place they were told the Babe lay. (Luke 2:15).

Felix conversed with Paul on an intellectual level, but postponed his decision, alarmed at thoughts of judgment. He played along with Paul, hoping to get money from him. (Acts 24:25-26).

Demas initially heard with gladness keeping Paul company even in jail, but strayed off The Way, eventually apostatizing completely. (2 Timothy 4:10).

Me? I rejected talk of Jesus, because I did not like the cross or the blood or being called a sinner or the Judgment. Yet by grace of God and His foreordained plan, I knew, knew there had to be a creator. The world existed. It was too beautiful and complex to have banged into existence from nothing. The two spiritual ideas, that I knew I was a sinner (deep down, suppressing the truth in unrighteousness,) and also that it was obvious there was a creator, stayed in me causing tension and angst.  In His timing eventually He gave me the grace to believe in the Gospel.

The Bible records for us the varied reactions to the Word of the Lord through His Gospel. We have seen and are to expect this variety of reactions. The Bible records the behaviors of many individuals who match these reactions. Judas hid his unbelief so well the other disciples thought Jesus was speaking of them when He announced one wold betray Him, rather than suspect Judas.

Matthew 13:18–23
The Parable of the Soils Explained

Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.

The same is true today. When we share the Gospel, some mock, some consider, some question, some reject…but keep on persevering in sharing the Good News. Some of those seeds will land on good soil. We will see them in heaven.

Further Resources:

Parable of the Soils (Ligonier devotional)

Truth For Life/Alistair Begg sermon (36-min) Parable of the Soils

parable of the soils weeds photo

Posted in potpourri, theology

Prata Potpourri: My friend is reading a bad book, Does God do miracles anymore? Depression, a painful weaning, more

By Elizabeth Prata

I love the ladies who change out their home decor to match the season. Lots of women at this moment are swapping out their beach themed front door wreath for a fall leaves or pumpkin decoration, laying tablecloths with harvest colors, and mulling over whether to put together a cornucopia as they stow away their jar of shells and dried starfish. I really love when ladies decorate.

It’s not my thing, though. I am of the mind where when I move in to a place, I look at the empty room. I decide in practical fashion its highest and best use considering the plug locations, windows, light, and size of my furniture. I set it up, and it stays like that forever.

This is the extent of my decor: I set up a table fan in the summer and I take it down when fall comes and put the tissues in its place. See, there are two seasons at my house; hot, and cold & flu season. To be honest though, I cry when I read the Bible, pray, and watch sad movies. I go through a lot of tissues.

I’m excited the fall season is here in Georgia, my adopted home state. It’s been cooler during the day and delightful at night. The AC is off. We are predicted to have a few more days of temps in the upper 90s but those will fade away soon enough. The heat is sputtering out now. The worst is over.

I’m even more excited at my adopted home country and its imminent appearing to my tired-of-this-world eyes. But until then, the Lord’s will be done, and may the seasons change smoothly.

Here are a few items I found interesting this week.

Mike Riccardi at The Master’s Seminary asks Can I Adapt the Gospel Message to Make Evangelism Easier?

My friend Savannah Rae writes wonderfully about a painful weaning

Shona Murray, wife of biblical counselor David Murray says she never understood depression and burnout until it happened to her.

God still performs miracles. Josh Buice explains that adherents to Reformed Doctrines believe this and why it’s often a spurious charge that we don’t.

I don’t have a smartphone. I only bought a flip phone recently for safety because I drive an old car that sometimes breaks down. Like the only person sober at the table watching friends slowly get drunk, I see smartphones as a sad trickster. Here US photographer Eric Pickersgill has created “Removed,” a series of photos of people holding phantom phones that have been removed from their hands to show us how disconnected we really are nowadays. Also of interest, Tony Reinke’s book 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You.

I always wonder how to broach the subject to a friend who is reading a bad book. Here Rick Thomas addresses this in a clear and helpful way. How to Respond to Bad Books and Those Who Love Them

Al Mohler explains that Jesus did descend into hell, and explains from scripture, and tells why the statement is included in The Apostle’s Creed. 3-min video. He Descended into Hell.

 

“Keep the positivity coming my way. I need as much as I can get.”

This lady is someone of whom I am unaware, but a Facebook friend posted this 9-minute video of a woman on Youtube whose channel was about makeup and fashion. She is a British lady who in recent days discovered that she has a terminal brain tumor and only a short time to live. Her video is titled My Final Farewell”. She does not appear to be saved, and it’s a video of her final goodbye to her subscribers.

I can’t hide it anymore. If any of you see me out and about, I won’t be my glamorous self. At the end of the day, the glamour, the makeup, all of that…doesn’t matter anymore.”

Heartbreaking to discover that your life’s passion was only striving after wind. At the end of the day what DOES matter? This woman appears not to know. We know. THE GOSPEL. Salvation from God’s wrath and eternal life in glory with the Glorious One, Jesus Christ. As you go about the day, remember what really matters.

gospel green wood background