The Plots to Kill Jesus and Lazarus


by Mike Ratliff

Ἔγνω οὖν [ὁ] ὄχλος πολὺς ἐκ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ὅτι ἐκεῖ ἐστιν καὶ ἦλθον οὐ διὰ τὸν Ἰησοῦν μόνον, ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα καὶ τὸν Λάζαρον ἴδωσιν ὃν ἤγειρεν ἐκ νεκρῶν. ἐβουλεύσαντο δὲ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς ἵνα καὶ τὸν Λάζαρον ἀποκτείνωσιν, ὅτι πολλοὶ δι᾽ αὐτὸν ὑπῆγον τῶν Ἰουδαίων καὶ ἐπίστευον εἰς τὸν Ἰησοῦν. (John 12:9-11 NA27)

Therefore, when the great crowd of Jews knew that Jesus was there, they came not because of Him only, but also because of Lazarus that they may see whom He raised from the dead. But the Chief Priests took counsel that they might kill Lazarus also because of him, many were going away and believing in Jesus. (a personal translation of John 12:9-11 from the NA27 Greek text)

The hard heart that is in the darkness of unbelief simply will not believe even when given irrefutable evidence. That is what the earthly ministry of our Lord was. He fulfilled those prophecies exactly of the Messiah that were given by those Old Testament prophets that the fathers of these very men also persecuted and killed. John made it clear in the dialogues and the examples of miracles by our Lord in the face of the opposition by these men that they were without excuse. The same is true today. Christianity is not a religion based on feelings or liver shivers or whatever. No, it is based on clear, irrefutable historical evidence of what our Lord did and said. Those who hated Him killed Him, but He was resurrected on the third day and Ascended into Heaven 10 days before Pentecost. All of this was witnessed by multitudes of people and no one has ever been able to prove any of it wrong. The evidences of the truth were all from eyewitnesses. The evidences of naysayers are all from people who hate the truth who were not even there. In any case, in this post we will look at some of the events that took place in the last few days before our Lord’s arrest and crucifixion as recorded in John 11:45-12:11.  Continue reading

Life and Peace


by Mike Ratliff

τὸ γὰρ φρόνημα τῆς σαρκὸς θάνατος, τὸ δὲ φρόνημα τοῦ πνεύματος ζωὴ καὶ εἰρήνη· (Romans 8:6 NA27)

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but he mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. (a personal translation of Romans 8:6 from the NA27 Greek text)

Discernment work is no fun. I wonder at some who seem to thrive on it. I do not. I will take up the sword when necessary and will not hesitate to take that firm stand, but my heart yearns for that time of peace like I am in right now as I am working my way through Romans 8:1-11 in light of my reading Matthew Mead’s The Almost Christian Discovered. The other side of discernment work for me is dealing with the inevitable spiritual assaults that come through our enemy’s servants. Their nagging little cuts and slices are nothing compared to the power of our Lord. They are simply those ugly voices of small people who are being used to echo the accusing of our enemy as he attempts to derail us from exposing one of his favorites. Let us never forget that our God is Sovereign and Satan can do nothing to us unless God allows it.  Continue reading

The Aim of Our Charge


by Mike Ratliff

τὸ δὲ τέλος τῆς παραγγελίας ἐστὶν ἀγάπη ἐκ καθαρᾶς καρδίας καὶ συνειδήσεως ἀγαθῆς καὶ πίστεως ἀνυποκρίτου (1 Timothy 1:5 NA27)

But the aim of our charge is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith without hypocrisy. (a personal translation of 1 Timothy 1:5 from the NA27 Greek text)

Before you read this post, if you have not read last night’s post, The Knowledge of God, please do so. It is also imperative that you listen to Chris Rosebrough’s and Phil Johnson’s analysis done to the interview of Rick Warren done by John Piper which I linked to in that post. I have read the posts and articles out there from quite a few well-meaning brothers and sisters in Christ who deeply desire for the controversy or rift resulting from the negative response from many of us who cannot accept Rick Warren’s ecclesiology and his friendship with the world and its ways to be healed. They view the efforts by John Piper to be the very thing to “heal” Rick Warren’s image with us. However, they are overlooking something that a commenter on last night’s blog said very well. He said:

“These “interviews” are meaningless and are usually not an accurate revelation of a person’s unvarnished beliefs. Watch what a person does apart from staged interviews and you will see more accurately, what he believes. What a person does is what he believes; everything else is just religious talk.”

There you go. Compare that with what the Apostle Paul said in the passage I placed at the top of this post. The genuine Christian walks with a heart that contains the love of God and that love flows outward. Our part is to walk in repentance so that our conscience is good. We do that by walking and relating to others by faith and that means without hypocrisy. If a person professes one thing, but his or her actions are quite different then you have a case of hypocrisy. That is our charge against Rick Warren in this case. He can do all the interviews with John Piper he wants. He can say he loves Jonathan Edwards and John Calvin all day, but that changes nothing. If he is not willing to turn from being ashamed of the Gospel and offended by the Cross of Christ and thereby not preaching the Gospel instead of promoting ecumenicism with partnership with Roman Catholic mystics, among countless other things that I do not have the space to go into here, then I will not relent. Continue reading

The Knowledge of God


by Mike Ratliff

ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ· εἰ ᾔδεις τὴν δωρεὰν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τίς ἐστιν ὁ λέγων σοι· δός μοι πεῖν, σὺ ἂν ᾔτησας αὐτὸν καὶ ἔδωκεν ἄν σοι ὕδωρ ζῶν. (John 4:10 NA27)

Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is the one saying to you, give me to drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.” (a personal translation of John 4:10 from the NA27 Greek text)

Yesterday evening, Chris Rosebrough and Phil Johnson got together and analyzed the Rick Warren and John Piper interview. You can listen to that here. I think their analysis is spot on and very valuable to the Church. I listened to this as I have been reading Matthew Mead’s The Almost Christian Discovered, which deals with professing Christians who are deceived into believing they are genuine believers when, in the end, they fail the test and are found to be false. My take on Rick Warren in the interview is that he is obviously a very intelligent man who knows a lot about theology. However, his handling of it reminds me of someone who knows a lot about theology, but not at the level of someone with whom he is constantly comparing himself, Jonathan Edwards. He is great about making lists and coming up with sermonettes, et cetera, but when it comes to actually revealing that he knows the difference between Justification and Sanctification, for instance, he simply blows smoke.  Continue reading