Category: The Meaning of Life


What is the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is it socialism? Is it just one of many ways to God? Is it an invention of white American men? I’ve posted this message before…and I’ll post it again…

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The Greek word translated “gospel” in the New Testament means “good news”, and in the context of the Bible the gospel is the “good news” about Jesus Christ. But what exactly was and is that good news, and what does it mean for us?

In answer to the second question first, read what Jesus said:

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life (John 5:24).

The Bible speaks of a love-gift from God. That gift is forgiveness of all our sin, and eternal life. The gift-if we accept it for ourselves and change our ways-takes us from being subjects of God’s wrath into eternal life, even though for now we are in mortal bodies.

Contrary to the common view on the street, as promoted by Hollywood, the education establishment and by certain authors, the gospel, the scriptures and the essential Christian doctrines were not all invented or altered hundreds of years after the time of Christ’s life on earth.

Lee Stroebel, with an MA in Law from Yale University, and a former award-winning investigative journalist for the Chicago Tribune, in his book “The Case for Christ”(note 1) interviewed a number of believing scholars such as Cambridge educated Sir Norman Anderson. Anderson was a Professor at Harvard, and lectured at Princeton. He was also the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of London. Anderson said that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, which contains a clear definition of the gospel as outlined below, can be confidently dated to around 55 AD.

Dr. Gary R Habermas, a New Testament historian, received his Ph D from Michigan State University and his DD from Emmanuel College, Oxford. In his book “The Historical Jesus”, Habermas discusses the creed quoted below as found in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, and writes that the gospel existed in the form below even before Paul’s letter:

That this confession is an early Christian, pre-Pauline creed is recognized by virtually all critical scholars across a wide theological spectrum”(2).

THE GOSPEL

Here, then, is Paul’s first-century definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he had given his life to, despite all opposition and threats, having once been a persecutor of Christians:

Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time….Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…(1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 8).

So the gospel of Jesus Christ is this:

1 Christ died for our sins, as prophesied in Old Testament Scriptures. We can be forgiven for all our sin because of Christ’s death on the cross;

2 He was buried;

3 He was raised from the dead on the third day;

4 He appeared alive to his disciples after his resurrection.

The gospel is here spelled out for you. Accept it, believe it, pray it, confess it, and live it.

NOTES

1 Lee Strobel “The Case For Christ” Pg 230. Pub. By Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49130. © 1998 by Lee Strobel.

2 Gary R Habermas “The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ” (College Press Publishing Company, Joplin, Missouri, © 1996 Gary Habermas) p 153.

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One of the countless reasons people give for not having faith in the God of the Bible is that He’s cruel, angry and sadistic. Are they right?

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Perhaps the most important answer to this question is that the universe is not a democracy. The God of the Bible created it and sustains it. He has no equal, and He therefore has every right to do with it what he wants to do. God is God, and we are not. Not only that, be we can’t stop him doing what he wants to do. So perhaps the question should be worded differently: Can I believe that there is a God such as this, one who appears to be so cruel?

Surely, even if God were terribly cruel and sadistic, the fact would not rule out the reality of his existence, except perhaps from the point of view that no all-powerful being who is also mean and sadistic could or would create and maintain such an amazing and  beautiful cosmos. So then the question must be more correctly worded this way:

Is God so cruel that I don’t want to know him?

Here we’re getting down to the nub of the problem, because such questions are usually-but not always-thrown out as an argument from people who have no desire to know God in the first place. It’s a cop-out; an excuse.

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But what about it: is the God of the Bible cruel? He doesn’t claim to be cruel. In fact, scripture says that, “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).

The gospel is all about the love of God for the pinnacle of his creation-mankind. He didn’t send his son to condemn the world, but to save it.

What about suffering? Why, if there is a God of love, do humans suffer so much, and then die? This is a subject for another post, and I’ve answered this question to the best of my ability in several posts. Please see the links below *

The skeptic will raise the subjects of God’s treatment of the Canaanites and the ancient Israelites, and the whole concept of hell.

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God told the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites under the leadership of Joshua, including women and children. This is seen as extreme cruelty. The charge is made by people who are either ignorant of all the facts, or who are determined to deny God the right to decide how mankind will behave on his earth. The Canaanites had descended to the lowest pits of human depravity, so that they were sacrificing their own children to their idols. They had abandoned their creator and were worshiping wood and stone. They were engaging in every depraved activity they could imagine. And God did not suddenly decide to swat the Canaanites without giving them a chance to change. In fact, he gave them more than four hundred years to repent (Genesis chapter 15).

We humans don’t have a “right” to do what we want without consequence, because we are owned by our maker. Our maker has standards. I’m personally very thankful for that. How could The master mathematician, biologist, scientist and philosopher, not have standards? Why should he not want to enforce and maintain those standards? Does he not have a right to run his universe his way?

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And what about hell? Is the concept really so awful? Well, it certainly is awful for anyone who may go there. But suppose for  now, if you don’t believe, that God is indeed our creator and the creator of our universe, as the Bible claims he is. Where then can those people go who do not want to know their creator and refuse to adhere to his standards? Where can they go, if once having failed his standards, they then refuse his mercy also? Can they create their own universe? Can they go and settle another part of his universe? Unfortunately, God cannot, according to his nature, tolerate willing rebellion, anywhere in his creation.

He therefore has a special place reserved which we call “hell”, away from Him and the universe which those who love him will inhabit. Without God Hell can have no light, no love, no comforts, no hope, no fun, no beauty. It can only be a terrible place without God. Choose Him or lose Him and all his benefits.

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There is, therefore, no part of His universe people can move to to escape his will. And if he sent everyone, against their will, to his heaven, it would be mean to those people who hate him, his ways, and his people, to make them endure all three for all eternity. Not only that, but it would be cruel also to those who do love him and his ways, to then have to endure the godless for all eternity. Heaven would be just like the earth is now, with war, aggression, immorality, hatred, abuse, decadence, and all the evils men and women perpetrate upon each other.

The  Bible says that “God is love”. God created love, and God is love. But that doesn’t preclude the need for right, wrong, and the necessary judgment of wrongdoing. God is as just as he is loving, and the two go hand in hand perfectly. True justice is as beautiful as is true love, for all eternity. Glory to God!

*Below is a link to the first part of my series on the subject of suffering. You can search for subsequent parts in the search box above, using the words “Why do we suffer? Part 2”, Part 3, etc. You can pay a lot for some “expert’s” book on the topic, or you can read these for nothing:

https://nickyfisher.com/2017/05/31/why-do-we-suffer-part-1/

One of the hazards to faith, peace and confidence can be the impression that God’s justice is not apparent in the world around us. Those who have no thought for God and who hate truth and justice sometimes seem to be doing very well for themselves, while the rest of us, those who love God and his ways, are not getting a fair shake on life…

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If we start to think God isn’t doing his job, or that he treats us unfairly, or that others are getting a much better deal in life even though they despise what is good, we can easily and quickly sink into bitterness and faithlessness. However, if we really know our God and our Scriptures-the ones on which our faith and hope are built-we should also know the truth of the situation.

David was one who similarly felt, for a time, that the darkness in humanity was triumphing over the righteous. Psalm 73 is an incredible view of David’s fear and bitterness that his enemies and those that hated the ways of God were running the world and getting their way:

From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
    their evil imaginations have no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice;
    with arrogance they threaten oppression.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
    and their tongues take possession of the earth (Psalm 73:7-9).

David confessed to us and to God that observing the prosperity of the wicked had almost destroyed his faith, because it seemed like they, and not God, were in control of things:

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
    I had nearly lost my foothold.
 For I envied the arrogant
    when I saw the prosperity of the wicked (verses 2 and 3)

This is a lie which any one of us can fall for if we aren’t on our guard, and if we aren’t seeking our God and his word. In the country I am originally from you might be said to be “losing your grip” if you don’t have your mind or certain aspects of your life under control. David almost lost his grip, and I’ve almost lost mine. If you’re honest, you’ll probably admit that you too have almost lost yours:

Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure...(verse 13)

But lets’s settle the matter in our hearts, just as David did. Let’s get a grip by recognizing that all things… all things… are ultimately under the control of our God, who is both perfectly patient and perfectly just:

When I tried to understand all this it troubled me deeply,

till I entered the sanctuary of God, then I understood their final destiny.

Surely you place them on slippery ground:you cast them down to ruin (verse 16-17).

David’s conclusion was that God is just and faithful:

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart,

and my portion forever (verse 23-25).

 

 

I’ve become more and more aware in recent years of what my one-time friends, my family (who I still love), and my countrymen think of what has happened to me since I left the UK and settled in the United States, and also what has happened to the U.S. So to those who might occasionally dare to stray into the weird world of Nick Fisher, here is a report, and an apologetic of what indeed has happened to me and to my home, America.

 

One old friend of mine once opined that I had been “snapped”. It was a derogatory term for what happens when a person inexplicably changes radically and suddenly, usually the result of being “brainwashed” by a cult. He had put into one word what many were saying about me, nervously and in hushed tones of sympathy and fear. Nick would never be the same again…

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I could go into a lengthy treatise on my view of the world, which so terrified and now disgusts all those people who would always look at me sideways if ever I were to bump into them on the street. But a few encompassing notes will suffice.

First, I am without regret. My problem was not that I was “snapped” into a false way of thinking in which my mind had become commandeered by some cult leader or group or church: it was that I previously had no coherent view of the world anyway. Like all those I’ve left behind then and now, all I saw of the world was what I saw immediately around me, what my friends said (which was often faulty) and what people on the TV told me. I was convinced that all the “experts” were right. So that if actor or comedian X, or news reader X had said that Mr Trump was preaching hatred and racism, I would have believed it. If Professor X said that it was now clear that man and the “other primates” had evolved from a lemur-like creature, I would have believed it. And if Reverend X had said that Jesus was just a man and that all religions could learn from each other I would have believed it.

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I had no courage of conviction; no clear understanding of mankind relating to actual visual verifiable evidence, and no solid set of answers to the big questions of life.

I am not enslaved to any cult or organization: I am not a member of any such entity. I haven’t even officially joined a church. I follow no-one except Jesus Christ. I have no obligations, no “religious” laws or set of rules to follow, and I have no-one to answer to…except my wife and my God. Apart from my work duties and my duty to country and the law of the land, I am free. In fact, I’m far more free than I ever was before I “snapped”. I have no dependence or reliance on chemicals or alcohol or anything else to make me happy or to numb me to reality. I have freedom of political thought without peer pressure or influence, and I have freedom of mind and conscience.

I’m free of the fear of what may or may not happen in the world. Instead I know how the world began and how it will end. I know where it came from and why, and I know where it is going.

I am free of the enslavement of evolutionism, for which I saw no evidence whatsoever-and neither have you. I am free of the chains of political correctness, which now tells millions how to think, how to eat, how to be, how to talk and how to believe. It re-writes history, science, nature, all the endeavors and knowledge of man, and plain simple logic such as gender identity. I am free of the ways of godless man…so much as I apply myself to be. That is, I don’t have to feel inferior to others who have money, influence, power, or good looks. I don’t have to hop from one romantic relationship to another any more, because I’ve learned how to be committed to someone instead of just using them.

I have freedom of spirit, convinced that when my body dies I will not. The ridiculous, unproven notion that I evolved from chemicals which in turn evolved from nothing has been, by my own choice and conscious inquiry, purged from my thought processes, and instead I’ve been free to look at the other, the far more satisfying and logical explanation for life, and for the evidence thereof. And knowing that there is indeed an incredible creator who has reached out to me by his Son, Jesus Christ, I am at peace with my God, and with the assurance that I am an eternal being, in the hands of one who holds the universe together. What could be better than that? Could another thousand nights of pub-going and stony-stupored gatherings be better? I know from experience that they are not. And so to America.

America has its problems, for sure: it’s a mass of humanity, just as Britain is. Yes we have some gun violence, but take those guns away and there will be plenty of knife violence in its place, just as there is in the UK. So would you rather die by bullet or by blade? There is very little gun violence where I live, partly because the criminal types have a healthy respect for the fact that if they break into a house, even with a gun, they may get shot first.

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I once hated the idea that the populace should own guns: in a perfect world they should not. But if you haven’t noticed, it isn’t a perfect world. Take away guns from law-abiding people and the criminals will keep theirs and have free reign over the innocent. The police will only show up to clean up the mess afterwards. It’s too late here to outlaw guns. And anyway, the ultimate necessity for an armed populace is to deter tyranny. Is government God? No, and neither should it be. Which brings me nicely to the subject of politics…

In the UK I was very socialistic in my views, as were my friends and most people I knew. People should all earn the same amount, I thought, and the government should handsomely support those not working. I’ve come to see things a little differently, and it’s not because I’m wealthy-I’m not.

If you work hard, you should enjoy the fruits of your labor. Those who are inventive, who have drive, ideas, passion for work and production, and those who provide work for others by their own industry should be allowed to do well and to prosper. There’s nothing wrong with that, and certainly nothing ungodly. Those who cannot work for whatever reason should be helped, yes. But those who have no intention of working (and yes, there are plenty of those) don’t deserve to be helped by the government. And after all, where does government get its money? It comes from people who work hard and pay taxes.

Finally, to Mr Trump. You, dear UK reader, have been fed a gigantic lie, as have many in the US. Most news outlets fabricate much of what you’ve heard about Trump. He is not racist in the slightest. He is not ignorant, as you’ve been told. How can a man who builds a business worth billions be ignorant? How can a wealthy successful businessman have no sense or understanding of the economy or of how the world works? How can a man who beat all the odds and the polls and the media win a presidential election by being stupid? But you have been told that’s the case.

You are lied to artfully by the media and certain politicians, as people in this country are. And don’t fool yourself into thinking that his politics make him greedy: there are billionaires in this country pushing for socialism. How do big money and socialism match? They match because those with wealth and power want to exert their wealth and power over you. That’s socialism for you: under socialism and communism some who would be telling us all how to live and think would be far more equal than the rest of us. They would, as they do now, have their armed guards and their weapons while the rest of us would land ourselves in court for even trying to defend ourselves.

I voted for socialists when I lived in the UK, and I can tell you that Trump cares far more for the average man than most Democrats do. He is the first national leader I have experienced in life that I respect and admire. At last, a great man has a little control for a little while. As far as immigration goes, he has no intention of limiting it, except for the illegal kind. But the media people want you to believe that he hates all colored people. This is nothing but a lie.

Think, dear Brits. Don’t be boxed in by that enormous blanket of so-called “expert” analysis and political correctness which very nearly smothered the United States under Obama, and which still threatens to do so under all those who  have been suitably numbed to freedom of thought.

Ask questions. Love freedom. Search for God.

The efforts of mankind in and out of “religion” are aimed at shrinking God to a manageable size, so that he’s no longer God but “a” god, and only one of many…

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THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING GOD

Even in the professing Christian world there are many individuals and organizations claiming to represent him who want the rest of us to see God as they do: small, ineffectual, effeminate, powerless, weak-minded and irrelevant. He can’t create and he certainly couldn’t do it in six days. He can’t say anything truthful and he has no ability or will to preserve even what he does say. He has no power over death, he doesn’t know his own mind, his promises are empty and vacuous, and his standards sway in the winds of time, opinion and fashion. In the words of a certain world-leading, head-of-the-Church type person, God “doesn’t have a magic wand”.

The message of the Bible is totally opposite to this attitude of “experts”. God, according to everyone from Genesis to Revelation, is unimaginably huge, powerful and holy. He is so amazing in his being, his character and his standards that were we able to get a glimpse of him in our present form we would immediately die-if only from the shock and awe of seeing him.

…who is able to build a temple for him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? (2 Chronicles 2:6).

The most intense target of the “Make God small” movement is Jesus Christ. Entire religions and pseudo-Christian cults fiercely contest and deny the idea that Jesus was anything more that a prophet, a teacher, a radical, a revolutionary…a man.

 

Any reading of the New Testament to an open mind demonstrates the complete antithesis of this view. Not only is Jesus Christ declared to be the Son of God, but God incarnate, and the creator of all that exists:

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him (Colossians 1:16).

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The diminishers not only work to wipe away or allegorize indispensable Old Testament books such as Genesis, but fundamental New Testament books also. John’s gospel, they say, is a fantasy. Paul’s writings are faulty. The gospels are flawed and need to be hugely edited, or to use a popular political tool these days-“redacted”. It  makes me wonder why people claim to even be Christian when they don’t actually believe anything of it. Why don’t they take up Buddhism or origami instead?

John Doe’s writing are far more reliable they say, and proceed to create their own version of the ancient Scriptures, when the originals claim to be the very Word of God…a dangerous risk and miscalculation.

John wrote,

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Paul said that Jesus Christ is:

“The image of the invisible God…” (Colossians 1:15).

Philip, one of the twelve disciples, said to Jesus one evening:

“Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered:

“Don’t you know me Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9).

The present-day deniers of Jesus’ divinity claim that John’s gospel is unreliable, so we can’t believe what it says. Really? Then take a look at the other gospel authors, and the writings of Paul, who all preached the same message. In fact, Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God and therefore God was the reason he was crucified:

“The high priest said to him, I charge you under oath by the living God: tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

“Yes, it is as you say, Jesus replied. But I say to all of you: in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? What do you think?”

“He is worthy of death,” they answered (Matthew 26:63-66).

Jesus Christ was crucified because he was claiming to be God’s one and only Son. He was “blaspheming”. Therefore, in their minds, he had to be shrunk. The fact that he had worked incredible miracles meant nothing to them. After all, anyone can walk on water, right? Anyone can turn water into wine and make a blind man see and a lame man walk, right?

I’m so glad that my God is much, much bigger than theirs. And I’ll say to him, with Thomas,

“My Lord and my God!”

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