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Jim Killebrew has 40 years of clinical psychological work for people with intellectual disabilities, and experience teaching, administration, consulting, writing with multiple publications. Dr. Killebrew has attended four Universities and received advanced degrees. Southern Illinois University; Ph.D., Educational Psychology; University of Illinois at Springfield, Counseling Education; M.A., Human Development Counseling; Northeastern Oklahoma State University, B.A., Psychology and Sociology. Dr. Killebrew attended Lincoln Christian Seminary (Now Lincoln Christian University). Writing contributions have been accepted and published in several journals: Hospital & Community Psychiatry, The Lookout, and Christian Standard (multiple articles). He may be reached at Killebrewjb@aol.com.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Gospel of Truth

"5:19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, 5:20 he should know that the one who turns a sinner back from his wandering path will save that person’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins."  (James 5:19-20)
We live in a world where people are trying to live for themselves.  Nations are trying to gain power and might so they can protect themselves from stronger, sovereign nations or lesser organized terrorist groups.  Individuals, like nations or terrorist groups, are constantly striving to stay on the top of the heap of humanity.  Narcissistic actions, selfishness and self-centeredness runs rampant in our society.  Even though we see ourselves as modern and sophisticated with knowledge ever-expanding with new ideas, technologies, inventions and results from endless research and development, we remain in the human predicament of wallowing in sin.  "1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves."  (Romans 1:24)
In ways not too unlike the sins of our first parents, Adam and Eve, their progeny to this day delights in changing the Truth of God into a lie.  They have taken the very existence of God out of their knowledge and relegated Him to a place of dishonor and isolation.  They have excused themselves from His creation and claimed their existence as part of the animal world.  So with their constant diminution of God from their daily lives, "1:26 ...God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, 1:27 and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error."  (Romans 1:26-27)     
From their position of fallen nature sin currently abounds.  The "sin-nature" prevails in the lives of individuals, people groups and nations throughout the world.  They have taken the influence of God from their governments, educational systems, legal systems and sometimes even from their worship practices.  They have destroyed the absolute of God and handed it over to the relativity of the moment.  Morality and justice have become the slave of situational ethical considerations with the Truth of God subservient to the invention of truth by man's power and law.
"1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. 1:29 They are filled with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips, 1:30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents, 1:31 senseless, covenant-breakers, heartless, ruthless. 1:32 Although they fully know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them."  (Romans 1:28-32)
The Apostle Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, gave us the indelible Truth through God's Holy Spirit that, "...3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  (Romans 3:23)  The consequences of having fallen short of God's glory has a price:  "6:23 For the payoff of sin is death..."  (Romans 6:23)  When we continue to live in sin we are separated from God because of that sin.  If we continue to live in that state of separation from God, we are ultimately cut off from Him and will experience an eternal separation from Him.  The promise He gives is one that ensures we do not have to stay separated from Him.  He provides the gift of being saved from our sin; that gift is, "...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."  (Romans 6:23)
People do not need proof that mankind has degenerated and continues to do so.  Not only do the news media confirm it, but network and cable news decry the worst of humanity each and every day.  If we want further proof it is as near as any individual around us where we work, play and live; and most importantly, we can find the most compelling proof by simply looking in the nearest mirror.  Each individual knows him/herself better than anyone else, and our own credibility to ourselves expose our faults and sins even when we are trying to minimize them.  Most assuredly, the Apostle Paul is correct:  "All" have sinned; and sin brings death.
Of course there is an escape.  In poetic song the Apostle Paul gives us a glimpse of The Christ Who saves us from our sin.  Jesus Christ, "2:6 who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, 2:7 but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature.  2:8 He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!  2:9 As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 2:10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth – 2:11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father."  (Philippians 2:6-11)
In what has been described as the most well-known verse in the Bible we read of God's great love for us:  "3:16 For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."  (John 3:16)
"15:3 For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, 15:4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 15:6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 15:7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 15:8 Last of all, as though to one born at the wrong time, he appeared to me also."  (1 Corinthians 15:3-8)
It is certain that God has provided the sacrifice of Jesus, His Son, as a blood sacrifice that satisfied the requirement for God's forgiveness of sins.  As we accept Him and yield to Him He empowers us with His Holy Spirit and forgives us our sins.  We live with Him for eternity in His presence.  That is the Gospel:  Christ died for our sins; He was buried and then raised from the dead.  He ascended to heaven and will one day return in power and glory.  It is up to us individually to yield to His calling.  We have a promise when we do.
"8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 8:2 For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. 8:3 For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 8:4 so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."  (Romans 8:1-4)
What about People around us?
I wonder when we enable people to begin and continue to believe in life positions that move to lifestyles that places them in a position directly opposed to God's will, if we don't in some measure share in their sin? I wonder, as a Christian, how we can live with ourselves knowing that a person who continues to live in sin, doing it willingly by choice, and we protect that person to do so by our own actions of not wanting to speak against that sin, if we are doing it only for ourselves? Do we avoid calling sin a sin by conjuring up "politically correct" language, thereby protecting ourselves from the "hurt" that confrontation brings along with the wrath of the person who fights to retain that sin we have enabled for so long?
If refraining from confronting our friend with their sin simply to save ourselves from the uncomfortable feeling that befalls us, we have done a great disservice to the individual.  How can we measure a moment of our own pain against the eternity of pain that person will suffer being separated from God?  If that person is a friend or loved one we must try everything we can to present the Gospel of Jesus as often as we can so as to give that person the opportunity to ask for forgiveness and invite Jesus into their life.  How could we do less?
"5:19 My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, 5:20 he should know that the one who turns a sinner back from his wandering path will save that person’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins."  (James 5:19-20)
Jim Killebrew

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