The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Man’s Logic is Not Enough

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 29, 2014

First, let me say that I believe God is a logical, reasonable God. He is not arbitrary (as Calvinism implies.) He invites the sinner to come and reason together with Him, in the hope that the sinner–convinced he was wrong–can be forgiven (Isa. 1:18).

Logic can be a beautiful thing. It can be skillfully used to draw conclusions that lead people to the truth. But it can also be used to draw people away from the truth. It all depends on the starting point. If you begin with a false premise, you will end at a false conclusion even if you use perfect logic.

Here is a simple example of a logical syllogism that leads to a lie because it begins with a lie.

There is no God. (lie)
People are moral beings. (truth)
Therefore the morality of people is not answerable to a God. (lie)

Obviously because the first premise is wrong, logic has led to a false conclusion–a conclusion that leads to spiritual death.

Here is another that has two TRUE premises but still comes to a false conclusion due to Christ being God in the flesh:

The surface of water cannot hold a man. (true)
Jesus is a man. (true, but He is also God)
Therefore Jesus could not have walked on water. (false–God is Master of His universe, not subject to its physical laws.)

Obviously, logical thinking cannot solve all of our problems. Having a well-trained mind will not always insure that we are in the Truth.

The wise men are ashamed, They are dismayed and taken. Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord; So what wisdom do they have? (Jer. 8:9)

If we do not begin with the Word of the Lord, and submission to it, our best “wisdom” is still going to be foolishness.

Frighteningly, it is even possible to be an avid student of the Bible and use it to come to all sorts of false conclusions. If a person has no fear of God, no relationship with God, no real desire for Truth, or some unholy ambition, the Bible will become just another tool by which he denies the Truth and deceives himself. If you have ever had a conversation with a biblically literate atheist, you know how scary it is to see someone know just enough Truth to thoroughly damn himself.

I had a friend who, seeing the apostasy of the American church system, separated herself (not a bad thing in many cases, as we need to pursue righteousness with those who call upon Jesus with a pure heart–2 Tim. 2:22). In time however, it seemed her main message was “everything the Church has ever said is wrong, and I will prove it.” I sensed an undercurrent of bitterness in some of her writings, something that, in my own life, I was working to overcome. After all, we must discern and love the true brethren–wherever they are–or else we have denied the faith. In time, she ended up denying even the divinity of Jesus, churning out paper after paper using logic and Scripture to deny the Truth. (A defense of Christ’s divinity here.)

How did this happen?! It was a real lesson for me. Something had to have been wrong in her heart for her to lose sight of who Christ is.

The very cross was a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks. Both groups had their learned teachers, but all of their learning could not bring them to the truth. And thus not many wise according to the flesh are called, for He will allow no flesh to glory in His presence (our great thinking skills cannot save us.) It is Christ who becomes for us wisdom from God (I Cor. 1:26-30). And to be in Him, we must have humbled ourselves and given up our reliance on our selves. I do not mean that we no longer think, or that we should yield our minds blindly to the control of other men or spirits (as many charismatics do to their own destruction). But our thinking must be governed by Jesus, and our every thought must be obedient to Him (2 Cor. 10:5). Unless there is a foundation of obedience to the Word of God even in cases where the Scripture exposes and wounds us, we will go astray even if we have a grasp of the Bible. Remember that the Jews stumbled over Jesus not because they didn’t have the Scriptures, but because they were disobedient (I Pet. 2:8).

The Proverbs repeatedly tell us to seek wisdom and understanding. These two necessities go way beyond logic! I can logically deduce that water helps my plants, but unless I have the wisdom to understand that overwatering can actually hurt them, I may destroy everything I am working for. I can know that sinners are on their way to death and hell, yet I must have wisdom in reaching out to them (Jesus did not say the same exact words to every person He met.) I can know that the Church is experiencing a terrible apostasy, yet I must have the wisdom to discern the Lord’s body and what course I should take at this time in history. I can know all sorts of things from the Bible, but I must have wisdom to apply those things to my life. And that wisdom is not sourced in my brain cells. My relationship to Jesus, and whether or not I am truly obedient from the heart will determine if I receive wisdom.

Jesus said, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.” (Jn. 7:17) The key then to understanding the truth is not mental prowess or verbal skill or superior knowledge. It is willing to do His will.

Thus God has made wisdom available to “children.” A child who knows very little Scripture can love God, desire to do His will, and have the wisdom to know the right path to take in a given situation. While every spiritual “child” should study to show himself approved and become able to rightly divide the Word of God, he must never take for granted that it is only by the Spirit Himself that he can do so.

Any impure motives we have in our hearts will pervert our understanding and application of Truth. Love to God and love to our neighbor are the greatest commandments because they will direct our own obedience to the commandments with wisdom, and direct our judgment of others (that it may be “righteous” judgment). Had the Pharisees loved God and their neighbor more than they loved power and money, they would not have condemned righteous men who “broke the Sabbath” by picking a few grains to eat when they were hungry. They would have rejoiced when a cripple was suddenly able to carry his bed, rather than trying to misapply the Law to condemn the Innocent. They would not have rejected the very Messiah of Whom their Scriptures testified.

Had Peter had in mind the things of God rather than the things of men, he would not have been used by satan to tempt Christ to circumvent His bloody cross (Matt. 6:21-23). Had he later not been afraid of the Judaizers’ opinions, he would not have had to be publicly corrected for perverting the gospel (Gal. 2:11-21). And so we see that even sincere disciples of Christ can go astray if there is some part of them still choosing the ideas of men over God’s wisdom.

The world through its (earthly) wisdom did not know God! It pleased God then, through the foolishness of the message preached, to save those who believe. To those who are called, Christ is both the power and wisdom of God. Our faith must not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. True wisdom never begins with the lying premises men have created, and from which their subsequent reason flows (premises like “the most important thing is my happiness now” for example).

Does it make sense that if a man hates his life, he will get to keep it? Does it make sense that if a man loves his life, he will lose it? Does it make sense that a seed must die in order to really come alive? Does it make sense that a man can be born twice? Does it make sense that we can best overcome an enemy by loving him and turning the other cheek to him? Does it make sense that if we are persecuted, we are blessed? Does it make sense that the King of the universe rode a donkey into Jerusalem, and submitted Himself to a cruel death? The world would say none of this makes sense! But–

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” (I Cor. 3:18-20)

Do we “seem to be wise in this age“? Does the world applaud our wisdom? If so, we are already in trouble! The Wisdom from God (embodied in Christ) has been rejected by this world! And if the world hated Him, it will hate us also. Nevertheless, as fools with and for Christ, we are yoked to a Wisdom the world is unworthy of–a wisdom that is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. (Jam. 3:17) And if in any circumstance, we discover that we lack the wisdom we need, we only need to ask for it, with faith (James 1:5-8).

In summary, we must not trust in worldly wisdom, or in the powers of the mind, including the gift of Logic. The beginning, middle and end of our Wisdom must be Christ. And there are many things about Christ that absolutely transcend, and turn upside down, the best wisdom man can come up with on his own.

God bless you!

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God Sees Your Sin, Pt. 3

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 23, 2011

In the previous post, I wrote out some Scriptures from the Old Testament that demonstrate that once being chosen and favored by God does not make one exempt from living a life pleasing to Him. After entering into covenant with God, one’s future sins are not invisible to God. Many members of “the chosen people” did not inherit the promise because they did not continue to obey the Lord; their carcasses fell in the wilderness, and these things were recorded to warn us that such can happen to us (I Cor. 10:1-12).  Now I would like to examine some New Testament texts that confirm our need for obedience to the Lord after being born into His family, and the consequences for disobedience.

A favorite doctrinal component of Calvinism is that if you have ever believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, or ever had a moment of true faith, His personal righteousness has been imputed to your account once-for-all, and is the only thing God will ever see when He looks at you in the future. In other words, even if you live a wicked life after that and die in sin, God can’t see it; all He sees is Jesus when He looks at you.  If such were true, then not only will He continue to see us as obedient when we disobey, He will be mocked.  He said we would reap what we sow, but we really won’t! He said the wages of sin was death, but we have found a loophole whereby we can sow to our flesh and not reap corruption! He is not only blind, He can’t chastise His children when they do wrong, since He can’t see their sin!

Complete hogwash!

One wonders how God could ever see the righteous acts of the saints, if He can’t see their sin! Do NOT be deceived by these teachings; God will not be mocked. If we sow to our flesh we WILL reap corruption, and God DOES chastise His children when they do wrong. (Gal. 6:7-8; Heb. 12:7) The eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good. (Prov. 15:3) The Lord is wearied when people falsely say that evildoers are good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them (Mal. 2:17). People who do what is wicked are wicked; only he that does righteousness is considered righteous in the eyes of the Lord (I John 2:29; 3:7).

Jesus taught the following:

The hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves…shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (Jn. 5:28-29)

In Matthew 7:21, Jesus taught the importance of DOING the Father’s will (righteousness), not just acknowledging or SAYING “Lord, Lord.” So important is it to DO the teachings of Christ, that the man who DOES them is likened to a house that survives a storm, while the man who does not DO them is likened to a house that is destroyed in the storm for lack of a proper foundation.  Friend, you ARE that house, and you are determining the final destiny of your house by whether or not you are submitting to Christ and doing God’s will. This is FOUNDATIONAL to your spiritual life.  Remember, King Jesus will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend (cause sin) and all persons who do iniquity, and cast them into the furnace of fire (Matt.13:41-42). So serious it is to get the sin out of your life, Christian, that Jesus said it would be better to cut off an offending body-part than to have your whole body “cast into hell.” (Matt. 5: 29-30)

So what if you don’t do as Jesus said, and deal a death blow to the sin in your own life?  Is all automatically forgiven because of His blood shed on the cross?

If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.  He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:   of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Heb. 10:26-29)

Friends, this Scripture destroys the license-to-sin doctrine.  If you willfully continue to sin after being sanctified, you are treating the precious blood of Jesus as an unholy thing!  God sees it and views you as worthy of much sorer punishment than the punishments inflicted on those who disobeyed Moses’ law!  When Ananias and Sapphira sinned in the church, was their sin hidden from God’s view? On the contrary, Peter, speaking by the Holy Ghost, rebuked them publicly. Their judgment was swift, and caused the fear of God to fall on the people who heard about it. Paul instructed Timothy to deal with sin in the church in like manner:

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.   I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.   Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.  (I Tim. 5:20-22)

Instead of following the right ways of the Lord, many in the church instead excuse or overlook flagrant sin, letting it spread like leaven through the whole lump. After all, if a person is considered positionally righteous even when they are doing unrighteous things, then who are they to judge?  False teaching is so dangerous!! Paul instructed the Corinthian church to put the sinner out of the church until he repents!! (I Cor. 5)  To refuse to do so is to be a partaker in other men’s sins and to become defiled.  Remember, the pure religion that pleases God includes keeping oneself unspotted from the world (James 1:27); this presupposes that God sees when we become “spotted.”

In Revelation 2 and 3, Jesus–who is God–addresses the church. Does He only see His own righteousness when He looks at them, or does He assess them exactly according to their own works, and command repentance when necessary?  Indeed, Jesus makes some startling threats toward those who will not repent!

“Thou hast left thy first love.  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:4-5)

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.  So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.   Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Rev. 2:14-16)

I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.  Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.   Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.  Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.   He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.  (Rev. 3:1-5)

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:  I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.  As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.  (Rev. 3:15-19)

Please study those two chapters in full, and you cannot fail to see that all the beautiful promises of God are specifically for overcomers. We must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). There is no easy way; the easy way taken by most is the wide road that leads to destruction. We must die to ourselves, and strive [make every effort, agonize] to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. (Luke 13:24)

Peter wrote that because the judgment of God is coming, and because we look forward to a new heaven and earth where only righteousness dwells, we must be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless…and beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. (2 Pet. 3:14, 17)  The righteous can be led away with the error of the wicked and fall? Yes!

Paul wrote of those who swerved away from love, a clean conscience, and sincere faith, and so had left the path of life and had only “vain jangling” or “meaningless talk”–the emptiness of religion without God (I Tim. 1:5-6). He wrote that some who had not held onto faith and a “good conscience” (they defiled and hardened their conscience by disobedience), had shipwrecked their faith! (I Tim. 1:19) He wrote that any who refused to provide financially for their own widows had, by his wickedness, denied the faith, and was worse than an infidel (I Tim. 5:8). He wrote that some younger widows, being idle and gossipers, had already turned aside after Satan. (I Tim. 5:15)  In fact, Paul recognized that he himself was not immune to falling away:

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.   And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.   I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:   But I keep under my body [keep my flesh crucified], and bring it into subjection [to God’s will]: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (I Cor. 9:24-27, brackets mine)

Paul recognized he could be cast away even after all his dedicated service to God! Just as a man who wants to win a race must be disciplined, so must the Christian life be disciplined, for “if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” (2 Tim. 2:5)  It is possible to begin the spiritual race and not finish the course, which is why we are urged to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and…run with patience [endurance].” (Heb. 12:1)  It is possible to engage in “the good fight” and not compete lawfully, being finally disqualified.

In 2 Peter 2, Peter wrote of false teachers who bring in damnable heresies [such as once-saved-always-saved or “God doesn’t see your sin”], even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  Peter describes these false teachers as having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices. Beware if your spiritual teacher shamelessly claims he cannot cease from sin, and that we must all sin every day in thought, word and deed! They teach such lies because they themselves are spiritually adulterous, loving the things of this world, especially the adoration and financial support of others who love sin and wish to have their ears tickled with sin-excusing lies.  Such teachers allure through the lusts of the flesh those who were clean escaped from them who live in error.  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. And so these wolves pretending to be ministers teach the flock of God that they have “liberty in Christ” to sin all they want! But when a man serves sin, he becomes the slave of sin! His so-called liberty is false! Don’t be deceived. Peter called these who had at first escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and were again entangled therein and overcome worse off than they were before they knew the Lord!  They were like dogs returning to lick up the vomit they had expelled, or pigs washed from their filthiness returning to their filth.  Truly this is receiving the grace of God in vain!

Dear reader, it is possible to deny the Lord by your disobedient works (Titus 1:16). Consider this carefully:

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Tim. 2:19)

This is the foundation of the Lord, and will not change despite the empty promises of false teachers.  How do you then depart from iniquity? David said a man could cleanse his way by taking heed to God’s Word (Psa. 119:9)  It is by abiding in Christ that His good fruit will be manifest in your life (John 15).   I John 3:6 teaches that whoever abides in Jesus does not sin! When you go astray, it is directly due to your not abiding in Christ.

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.  (John 15:7)

Paul said, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:2-3)  We must CHOOSE the things above or the things of this earth. We must CHOOSE to mortify our members which are on this earth, and to follow the things that please the Lord, because the wrath of God is coming on the children of disobedience (Col. 3:5-6).

Thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy post!  I hope it is clear to you that in both Old and New Testaments, God’s covenants with men are conditional. If you have not already, please study both testaments on your own, asking God to open your understanding to the Truth. He has promised wisdom to those who ask, and He has promised to be found of those who seek Him with their whole heart.  He is the God of love, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and purify for Himself a peculiar people zealous for good works. His grace teaches us to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:11-14). I pray that you do not receive the grace of God in vain! I will leave you with this powerful statement by the Apostle Paul:

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Rom. 8:13)

God bless you!

Posted in Backslider, Calvinism, Christian Life, Once Saved Always Saved, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Speak, Christian! (Even if Your Voice Shakes)

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 17, 2011

Yesterday I saw a picture of an old house, with these words graffiti-painted on, “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”

I was reminded of one of the first tests the Lord laid on me as a new believer. I had been asked to testify in a child-custody case. To testify meant  saving a young boy’s chance to spend time with his Christian father. It also meant losing the love and respect of many relatives, who were intent on dividing this same father and son, no matter how unjust. As I entered this test, I knew that God wanted me to testify, and that come-what-may, all I had to do was tell the truth without malicious intent, and God would be pleased.  This I did with much fear and trembling. That child is now a man, and has since expressed gratefulness for what I did, now that he understands what was happening.

It was some time after testifying in that case that I came across this verse,

A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies. Prov. 14:25

To speak truth at cost to yourself is not merely an exercise in self-abasement. It saves souls!

If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.  If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;   if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works? Prov. 24:10-12

Dear Christian, every day souls are being drawn away unto death and are ready to be slain. Even in the professing Church, there are many who think they know God, but need a true witness to show them who God really is and what He requires.  We who know the Holy One dare not pretend we do not see those who have been taken captive by the devil to do his will; we dare not continue on our way, silent in the face of their destruction, saving our own lives callously while others perish.

We are God’s witnesses. We don’t have to convince every man, but we do have to “warn every man” (Col. 1:28) and  in meekness instruct those who oppose themselves, in hope that God will yet grant them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. (2 Tim. 2:25)  God is the final Judge, but we are the kingdom of God’s ambassadors, pleading with the rebels while they yet have a chance, “Be ye reconciled to God!” (2 Cor. 5:20) Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men! (2 Cor. 5:11) Knowing also the goodness of the Lord, we cry with the Spirit to all who thirst, “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22:17)

There are many costs to the faithful witness even here in the United States–the loss of friends, finances, reputation, etc.  Unfortunately, not every person will turn at the Lord’s loving rebuke; some may even want to kill the messenger.  Most people in the darkness hate the approach of light; they prefer darkness because their deeds are evil, and they do not wish to give them up (John 3:19-21). You will be despised in this world the moment you are willing to lose everything in your life for Christ and His gospel, and yet this is exactly what you must be willing to do. Satan will begin to stir up hatred against you; perhaps you will be falsely accused by others. Remember the words of Jesus–

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.   Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matt. 5:11-12

Listen to what the Lord told Jeremiah, when he was afraid to speak for the Lord:

Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.   Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.  Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. Jer. 1:7-9

Has He put His words in your mouth, Christian?  Spring up, oh well!!  Speak truth faithfully, and with the loving intent to save lives–even if your voice shakes, so that the One who made you His witness may say at the end, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matt. 25:21)

Posted in Christian Life, Judgment of God, Preach the Gospel | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Put Away Your Whoredoms

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 16, 2011

Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever. (Ezek. 43:9)

When you find yourself lacking the presence of God–and indeed, by your sins, you have erected a wall between you and Him (Ezek. 43:8), there is only one thing to do–put away your whoredoms and the carcasses of your kings. God is holy. Those wicked things you are embracing while professing to be the Bride of Christ testify against you. Do you think God doesn’t see your whoredoms?–He certainly does!

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. (Prov. 15:3)

Those movies you watched that dishonored the Lord, those websites you visited that you KNOW are evil, those impure thoughts you entertained, those close friendships you are cultivating with people in the world that hate God, that God-less music you have developed affection for, the lust for material things that you have bowed down to, the refusal to give God first place in your heart, and the stubborn hardening of your heart at His gracious reproofs–these are your whoredoms.

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.  (James 4:4)

Those evil things you have allowed to rule over you, those sins you have refused to crucify and insisted you had to serve, your own flesh which you have obeyed when you ought to have made it subject to the law of God–these are the “kings” you must slay by the power of the Spirit.

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.   Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Rom. 6:12-13)

There is only one King who has the right and authority to rule over you, and that is King Jesus. Has He not proven that He is a good King, worthy of your single-hearted love and devotion? Has anyone else, so highly exalted, ever given so much to save you–you who, by your continuation in rebellion, would crucify Him again?!

Has He not proved to you that all other kings are harsh taskmasters, and that the “pleasures of sin for a season” are fleeting, and end only in death?

Have you not reaped what you sowed, just as He said you would?

When you wore His good yoke, was it not a much easier yoke than the yoke of sin?

Wasn’t a clean conscience much easier to bear than the guilt that weighs upon your soul now?

Wasn’t it better, dear Prodigal, back when you served your Father? What have you gained by insisting on your own way?

Wouldn’t it be better for you now to go back, humble yourself before Him, admit you are no longer worthy to be called a son, and ask for His mercy?

Aren’t His servants faring better than you are now, while you eat food fit for pigs and sit covered in shame?

Come to your senses and stop sinning! Return to your Father, and humble yourself. He will run to you, wash your sins away, and reinstate you as more than a servant–as His child.  All of heaven will rejoice with Him when you repent–when you put away your whoredoms!

Thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness.  Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.  Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth? (Jer. 3:2-4)

Hear the Father’s heart–even now He desires you to cry unto Him, to remember how He guided you in days gone by, to be ashamed of your idolatry and PUT IT AWAY FROM YOU. Do not have a “whore’s forehead”–brazenly refusing to be ashamed, citing some false doctrine like “once saved always saved” to excuse what cannot be excused. You cannot continue to fellowship with “pigs,” feasting on the same food (partaking of the same sins) they do, and also fellowship with God!  He will not be one of your many gods.  You must choose you this day whom you will serve.  You must come out of the pig pen and begin the journey home!

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?…  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 2 Cor. 6:14-18)

Dear reader, if you are backslidden, I pray you will turn at God’s loving reproof. Today is the day of salvation.

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The Field is the World

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 15, 2011

When discussing the rampant sin in the professing church, how often have you heard, “The church is full of wheat and tares. We can’t tell the difference between the two, so we just have to wait until the end and let God remove the tares.”

I submit to you that this is a wrong interpretation of the passage in question, Matt. 13:24-30. Let us examine it.

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:  but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.   But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.   So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?   He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?  But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.   Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Notice that when tares appeared, the servants of the householder immediately recognized them as tares rather than wheat.  Servants of God can recognize the children of the devil and the children of God. “For every tree is known by his own fruit.” (Lk. 6:44)

Later in the chapter, when the disciples asked Jesus to help them understand this parable, Jesus declared the following:

He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;  the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;  the enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.   As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;   and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.   Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (vss. 37-43)

The field is not the church. I repeat, THE FIELD IS NOT THE CHURCH!  The place where wheat and tares must be allowed to co-mingle until the end is THE WORLD.  In the world, there will always be wicked people and righteous people. If the righteous were to go about “gathering up” the tares (killing them!) before the appointed time, it would bring hurt to the wheat. Instead, the righteous must wait patiently for the angels to gather “all things that offend, and them which do iniquity” and cast them into the furnace of fire.  Vengeance is the Lord’s, and He will repay. Untold harm has come to the testimony of the church when “holy wars” have been carried out in the name of Christ. These are the premature “gathering of tares” to which Christ was referring. While the door of salvation stands open, it is still possible for the children of the devil to repent and believe, and become children of God. In the meantime, the servants of God must be content to allow the wheat and tares to grow up together in THE WORLD (not the church!)

Now it is true that wicked men have crept into the church unawares, perverting the doctrines of God (Jude 4), but that is another subject.  The subject at hand is whether or not the righteous (wheat) and the wicked (tares) are permitted to grow up and produce fruit together in the church.

The belief that the the field of wheat and tares is the church, rather than the world as Christ taught, has caused leaven to spread unchecked in the church. This parable has been wrongfully used to ignore the Apostle Paul’s admonitions in I Cor. 5 to:

MOURN over sin in the church (vs 2),

JUDGE the deeds of wicked men in the church (vs 3, 12),

DELIVER sinners to satan for the destruction of the flesh (vs 5),

PURGE the leaven of sin out of the church (vs 7),

STOP having fellowship with wicked people who profess to be Christians (vss 9-11), and

PUT such people “away from among yourselves” (vs 13).

If we are to do all these things, is it not obvious that we must first judge the tree by its own fruit?–that we must discern whose works are inspired by the devil?

Paul asks in I Cor. 6:3-5,

Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?  If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.  I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?

Paul is reproving the church for failing to judge appropriately! Is there no one in the church who is wise enough to judge between what is good and evil? How can this be, among the very people who will judge angels?

Again, in Eph. 5:3-7, Paul writes:

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;  neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.  For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.   Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.   Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

We, the saints, are not to allow wicked people to remain “among us” in the church, turning a blind eye to their wicked works, saying “God will deal with the tares in His own time.” We are to purposefully refuse to be partakers in other men’s sins, and to keep ourselves pure (I Tim. 5:22). This means there must be church discipline. The sinner must be confronted in love, and commanded to repent. If he does not repent, we must separate from his company. There is not to be a mixing of holy and profane in the house of God, but a distinct difference between the two. It is this very mixing of holy and profane that has caused untold reproaches to fall unjustly on the name of Christ!

When sin is rampant in the church, and you hear the tired excuse, “God will deal with the tares in His own time,” and “it isn’t for me to judge,” remember that Jesus said THE FIELD IS THE WORLD.  Stand against the false teaching that the field is the church. The Bride of Christ that Jesus will come for is a pure Bride that lives in daily communion with Him, hearing His voice and following Him, and having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness that the children of the devil continue to produce.  Obey the Holy Ghost-inspired words of Paul–“Put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”

God bless you!

 

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Legalism, Obedience, and the Apostle Paul

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 14, 2011

If you are a Bible-believing Christian who loves Jesus, keeps His commandments, and teaches others to keep His commandments, you’ve probably been called a “legalist.” According to those who bring this charge against you, the Apostle Paul would have called you a legalist too.

The argument goes something like this: If you think you have an obligation to obey God, you have a works-based salvation. You can’t earn your salvation, so you can’t lose it no matter how much you disobey God. Believing and teaching that you must obey God is legalism.

This is an astonishing charge, since part of the great commission is teaching others to obey Jesus’ commands! (Matt. 28:19-20)

It is assumed by many people that the Apostle Paul equated careful, love-motivated obedience to God’s moral law with legalism, but this is simply not true. Where Paul taught that “the law” has no bearing on salvation, he was not  referring to loving adherence to God’s moral commands, but to the keeping of the Judaic law.

Paul taught repentance and faith to every person (Acts 20:21). A person who repents (God’s first requirement) is a person who turns away from known lawbreaking (sin) and submits to the law of God, indeed has the law of God written on his heart. Without this heart change from rebellion to submissive obedience, there is no salvation possible. When Paul taught repentance, he was essentially teaching transgressors to return to obedience to God.

Where Paul asks, “Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Gal. 3:2) he is reminding the Galatians that they were not saved by attending to Jewish ceremonial laws (such as circumcision), but by receiving the Word of God with real faith (the kind of faith that is not a hearer only, but a doer of the Word–James 1:22). Paul had to spend considerable time refuting the troublesome Judaizers, who confused new Gentile converts by teaching them that unless they became good Jews–celebrating the correct feasts, being circumcised, etc.–they could not be saved. While there is nothing wrong with attending to such Jewish practices, and there is some spiritual benefit for those who recognize their typological significance, they remain only shadows of the true spiritual heritage we have in Christ, and are not mandatory for salvation. Anyone who attempts to make these old covenant requirements, or some other man-made requirements, binding for salvation is a legalist in the true Biblical sense.

The truth is that Paul himself would be considered a legalist by many today, if only they would pay close attention to all that he wrote! Unfortunately, many teachers today wrest some of his teachings from their context, while ignoring others, in order to uphold their false, sin-excusing doctrines.  Apparently men were already wresting Paul’s teachings to their own destruction in Peter’s time, and Peter acknowledged that some of Paul’s writings could be hard to understand (2 Pet. 3:16). However, there can be no doubt that Paul taught Christians to obey God’s moral law, which is the same law summed up by Jesus as love to God and love to neighbor, upon which all the law and prophets hang (Matt. 22:37-40).

Notice that Paul taught the Jewish rite of circumcision has no bearing on salvation, while obedience to God’s commands is extremely important.

Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. (I Cor. 7:19)

Please examine these important teachings by Paul:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise. (Eph. 6:1-2)

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (I Cor. 6:9-10)

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal. 5:19-21)

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience…But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds. (Col. 3:5-9)

Noting the highlighted portions of the previous verses, it should be clear that Paul taught people they must obey their parents, must not have any gods before the Lord (idolatry), must not covet, must not lie, must not steal, must not murder, must not take the Lord’s name in vain (blasphemy), and must not commit adultery (among other things). Paul has here upheld 8 of the 10 moral commandments, and has clearly stated that some of these sins will exclude one from the kingdom of God! Here is the ninth:

If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha. (I Cor. 16:22)

Is Paul not teaching that we must LOVE the Lord our God (the first commandment) or be cursed?

Truly, the law of God was written on Paul’s heart, and he taught others to obey God. His problem with “legalists” was with those who wrongfully insisted that Gentiles convert to Jewish ways, not with those who obeyed God’s moral law from the heart!

 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Rom. 6:16

What? Obedience leads to righteousness? Indeed it does, and here Paul agrees with John, who wrote that only those who DO RIGHT are considered righteous! (I Jn. 3:7) Paul also wrote the following:

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. Rom. 8:13

That’s a big IF, friends. According to Paul, you have to mortify the deeds of your body by the power of the Spirit if you want to retain spiritual life. And Paul lived what he preached–he kept his own body under subjection lest after preaching to others he himself should be a castaway (I Cor. 9:27).

One last, very important passage by Paul:

God, who will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:  but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;but glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:  for there is no respect of persons with God. (Rom. 2:6-11)

What did Paul say would happen to those who do not OBEY truth?–They will have indignation, wrath, tribulation and anguish! What did Paul say one must do to receive eternal life?–Patiently continue in well-doing (doing what is right or LAWFUL according to God’s standards!)

It truly is amazing that anyone would believe or teach that lawlessness is permissible in the Kingdom of God. To be part of this kingdom, one must faithfully serve its King!! Remember dear friends, Jesus Himself testified:

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom ALL THINGS THAT OFFEND, AND ALL THEM WHICH DO INIQUITY;and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matt. 13:41-42)

God bless you!

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A Space to Repent

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 12, 2011

Right after delivering the powerful directive, “Unless you repent, you will perish,” Jesus told an important parable:

A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?  And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. (Luke 13:6-9)

The Lord wants fruit. In the parable of the four soils, He taught that there are four types of people to whom the Word of God comes, and only one of those four soils produces fruit “with patience.” (Luke 8:5-15) Of the three nonproductive soils, one has the Seed/Word of God stolen by satan before it can even germinate, one receives the Word with joy and believes for a while but in time of testing falls away, and one “brings no fruit to perfection,” being choked with “cares and riches, and pleasures of this life.”  It is very important that we examine ourselves to see if we are now in the faith–or if the soil of our heart is currently producing “fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” (Rom. 6:22)

It is not enough to have had a moment of faith sometime in the past–to have received the Word with joy, to have believed for a while, or to have produced immature fruit which has never been brought to perfection. In John 15, Jesus taught that we must abide (remain) in Him in order to continue to produce fruit. Attached to this command is a warning: all branches that stop abiding in the Vine will become fruitless and wither away. What will be their end?–being cast into the fire!

Returning to the parable in Luke 13, I notice that for three years the owner of the vineyard sought fruit on a certain fig tree. Finding none, he opted to cut it down, lest it overwork the ground for nothing. But the dresser of the vineyard pleaded for one more year, in which he would do everything in his power to make this tree fruitful–loosening the soil around the tree, fertilizing it, etc. This tree had one last chance to produce fruit or be cut down; this tree had “a space to repent.”

The false prophetess in the church of Thyatira had a space to repent, but she had not repented, and she would be judged. She had been teaching believers they could fornicate and partake of the table of demons as well as the table of God (Rev. 2:18-23). These same false teachings are abundant in our churches today, and many have been deceived by them, “having itching ears” that desire to live in sin while professing to know God–they profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.(Titus 1:16)

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (2 Tim. 2:19)

There is a space to repent of these wicked works and wicked teachings–only a space, and a space has an end. There is a day in which we must “seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” (Isa. 55:6) In Noah’s day, there was a space to repent that lasted 120 years, while Noah preached righteousness and worked out his own salvation with fear and trembling, obeying God’s instructions carefully. Jesus taught that the end will come “as in the days of Noah”–while people are at ease, not considering the end of their careless rebellion against God, judgment will come upon them suddenly, and they will find to their horror that the door of salvation has been closed to them.

With Paul, I beseech you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain. Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. Today if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, even as others have done to their own destruction. (2 Cor. 6:2; Heb. 3:15) To hear His voice when you know you have been lukewarm and fruitless, is to receive a merciful space to repent. Remember the lesson in I Cor. 10:1-12–many came out of Egypt, were baptized in the sea, and drank of Christ, only to be overthrown in the wilderness because they did not hold fast to the truth and continue to produce the good fruit of holiness to the Lord.

John the Baptist spoke to the Pharisees, “Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” (Matt. 3:9) I say to my readers, “Think not to say within yourselves, I have had a good beginning and have served in the church, and I don’t need to repent of my lukewarm and divided heart or my friendship with the world–for I say unto you that Christ will spew out the lukewarm and cut down the fruitless!”

While your space to repent remains, draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye doubleminded.Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:8-10)

Begin today to bring forth the fruits consistent with repentance! “And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matt. 3:10) The axe is laid, even now, dear reader!

May God bless you.

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If We Do Not Give Up (Lessons from the Garden Part 1)

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 4, 2011

At the start of spring this year, I planted some heirloom vegetable seeds in trays which I kept by a warm window. I dutifully watered them and watched them grow. When they began to look spindly and sick, I started putting them outside in ever increasing intervals to be strengthened and hardened by the sun and wind.  My husband had plowed up a garden plot for me, and when the time seemed right, I dug rows and trenches with a shovel by hand.  I mulched the trenches carefully to inhibit weed growth and planted my seedlings, carefully adding some cow manure to each hole in which a seedling would begin its new life. Then I watered my new outdoor garden carefully, expectantly.

Within a week, there was clearly something wrong with the plants. I saw to my dismay that they had spots on them and were yellowing and sickly. What could have gone wrong? Immediately, great discouragement descended on my heart like a heavy cloud. God didn’t care about me, my good dreams, or my hard labor–so said a little voice that I quickly hushed, knowing the voice was lying.  Still, despite knowing God loved and cared for me, my garden was so disappointing after so much work, I ignored it for 2 days, thinking I might even abandon the project.

On the third day, I woke up with a new determination not to give up. There was still life out there; there were things I hadn’t done yet. I had some ideas I had to try.

As I went out into a very hot day and began working that garden, the joy of the Lord washed over me.

I almost wept as the Holy Spirit reminded me, “Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal. 6:9) I felt His pleasure; He was pleased that I had not given up. He cared about me, and was using my garden to remind me of great spiritual truth.

Isaiah sang a song about his Beloved’s vineyard in Isa. 5–

My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard.What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?

The Lord knows what it’s like to work hard and expect good grapes, yet see only the “wild grapes” of disobedience.  Thankfully, He does not give up easily. Though judgments would fall upon this vineyard that had not produced the fruits of righteousness, there was yet hope, and He would one day “see the travail of His soul, and…be satisfied,” for by His knowledge He would justify many and would bear the iniquities of those who would repent and believe (Isa. 53:11).  He would not simply turn His back on the human race, these sheep who insisted upon going astray. He would do everything possible to save them first.  Not only would He give His own life for them, but He would teach others to do the same–to labor hard, to suffer long, to feel the bitterness of disappointment, and to wait patiently in hope.

As we work as co-laborers in the harvest fields of the Lord, let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not–or if we do not give up.

I know that despair threatens to engulf us as wisdom cries from our bellies, and we see so many foolish people refusing to hear the word of the Lord. But we must not give up.

I know it sometimes seems hopeless, but love ALWAYS hopes, and is willing to suffer long–we must not give up.

As our Lord looked through the cross to “the joy set before Him,” so must we–“Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” (Heb. 12:3)

Today, my garden is thriving. It had a very troubled beginning, but now it is possibly the loveliest garden I’ve ever had. A friend reminded me that this describes God’s people–troubled beginnings that turn into lovely and fruitful gardens under His patient care.  How true!

God bless you!

Immature Roma tomatoes growing in my garden.

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God’s Will vs. My Will

Posted by israeliteindeed on November 28, 2009

I. Godly Old Testament men who did God’s Will

Moses: The LORD has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will. (Num. 15:28)

God, speaking of David: ‘I have found David…a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ (Acts 13:22)

II. Satan—His attitude is “I will,” and he desires to be like God (Lord over men, even in the very congregation.)

I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ …(Isa. 14:13-14)

III. Men who do according to their own will serve the devil

Disobedient Israel: “We will walk according to our own plans, and we will every one obey the dictates of his evil heart.” (Jer. 18:12)

Spirit of antichrist: Then the king shall do according to his own will… (Dan. 11:36)

Jesus, speaking to the Pharisees: You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. (John 8:44)

In humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. (2 Tim. 2:25-26)

IV. Attitude of Jesus

Jesus: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” (John 4:34)

Jesus: I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (John 5:30)

Jesus: For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (John 6:38)

Jesus, facing the cross: “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

V. Christians MUST not follow their own will, but deny their own will and follow Jesus.

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. (Luke 9:23-24)

For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise. (Heb. 10:36)

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Division in the Church

Posted by israeliteindeed on November 28, 2009

Why is the professing Body of Christ seemingly so divided, and who or what is causing it?After all, we all claim to be following the Holy Spirit. That should give all sides something very serious to think about. We can’t all believe different things and still all be right.

According to the Scriptures, here are 3 things that cause division in the professing Church:

1) False teachers allowed to remain in the professing Church

Any time a teacher leaves the Truth, he is sowing division.

Romans 16:17-18 “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.”

It is very important to keep in the “teaching we have learned.” That is, the doctrine of Christ and His apostles found in the Bible (not the doctrine taught in a church building or seminary. This is an important distinction.) Those who leave the teaching of Christ and His apostles and teach some other wind of doctrine, or doctrine of demons, are serving themselves and dividing the Body of Christ.

2 Peter 2:1-3 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.”

The “way of Truth” will fall into disrepute because of these false teachers whom “many will follow.” The phrase “denying the sovereign Lord who bought them” suggests that these teachers were walking in Truth at one time, but have left the right way and are now taking others with them. Those who follow these blind guides have stopped following Jesus, the only Way of salvation. Because they are deceived, they will claim they are still following God, to the shock and dismay of those who have remained faithful to Jesus. Now two opposing groups will claim to be serving Jesus and following the same Spirit. Thus division is created in the professing Body of Christ by false teachers and those who follow them.

Jude 18-19 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

2) Siding with the Truth (or not)Jesus, who is the Truth, said He came to bring division that would even tear families apart.

Luke 12:51-53 “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Those who side with satan, “the god of this world,” will naturally despise those who side with Christ—the One who testifies that the world’s deeds are evil (John 7:7). A natural division occurs between light and darkness, Christ and Belial, righteousness and wickedness, and the temple of God and idols. (2 Cor. 6:14-16)

John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Jesus is called the “Word made Flesh.” The Word of God is even said to divide.

Heb.4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Those who subject themselves to the Word of God will become divided from those who do not. (John 7:43, John 9:16, John 10:19)

In the world (and professing church) as it presently stands, there are wheat and tares growing up together. (Matt. 13:24-30) The wheat CAN BE distinguished from the tares by the servants of God. But they are allowed to co-exist until the time of harvest, when the “reapers” will permanently separate them. The Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim. 2:19).

3) TestingBelievers are tested by heresies, to see if they will remain in the doctrine of Christ or not. This testing causes division between those who are approved by God, and those who are not.

I Cor. 11:18-19 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

It is also important to realize that we are to study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen that need not to be ashamed because we rightly divide the Word of Truth! (2 Tim. 2:15)

It is very important to abide in correct doctrine—so important that even salvation is at stake!

I John 2:24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father.

2 John 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Paul cursed those who taught any gospel other than what had already been taught. (Gal.1:6-9)

Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him. (2 John 9-10)

We will be tested by heresies, just as Eve was tempted in the garden of Eden. Eve fell because she believed the words of a deceiver (she believed false doctrine) that questioned WHAT GOD HAD ALREADY SAID. Satan promised Eve an experience that she couldn’t pass up. The Holy Spirit will NEVER contradict the Bible, which He authored. The Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation, and thoroughly equip us to live holy lives abounding in good works (2 Tim.3:15-17).

So what about unity?

Didn’t Jesus pray that His disciples would be one? (John 17:17)

Yes, and His true disciples ARE ONE. They abide in His teaching, and His Word abides in them. They together abide in Christ, and they stand together against the false teachings that are threatening the flock. (Titus 1:9, Romans 16:17, Jude 3, 2 Cor. 6:17)The disciples of Christ are denying themselves and carrying crosses, dying to this life and loving not this world nor the things in this world. Because their focus is on Jesus Christ alone, and they are not carried away by every wind of doctrine, they are united—even though they may not even know each other. They are satisfied with their daily bread, trusting that man shall indeed live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. They are not divided because of skin color or nationality. They are not divided due to wealth/poverty, or station in life. They are people of peace and they love one another. They do not take advantage of one another, or lord it over one another. They do not lie to one another, and they do not elevate themselves over one another—rather the greatest among them is the servant of all.

These love God with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength; and they love their neighbors as themselves. They help the weak and gullible by rescuing them from the mouths of wolves. They often do this by exposing false teaching and false teachers, which unfortunately earns them a reputation for being “divisive.”

God bless you.

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