The Grace of God

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

Posts Tagged ‘disobedience’

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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Perishing From the Assembly

Posted by israeliteindeed on May 25, 2014

I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. (Jn. 10:14)

In the rebellion of Korah, the dissenters falsely declared that the Lord was among “every one of them.” (Num. 16:3) Moses responded that the Lord would show who was His and who is holy, and He would cause the one He chooses to come near to Him (vs. 5). It was clear to Moses that the Lord was not, in fact, among every one of them. The Lord demonstrated who were His and who were not by swallowing the rebels alive into a pit. They perished from among the assembly (vss. 32-33).

Today there are so many who claim that the Lord is among them while they rebel against God’s chosen Leader (Jesus Christ). But what did Jesus say? He knows His sheep, and they know Him. They believe He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, so they follow Him (Jn. 10:27).

I remember telling a young man who unashamedly admitted living in fornication that he was not the Lord’s sheep. He kept telling me how sad it made him feel for me to say such a thing, and he pressed me to confess that he was the Lord’s sheep based on his having prayed a prayer at one time to be saved. I refused. How could I claim he was the Lord’s sheep when Jesus said His sheep know His voice and follow Him, refusing to obey the voice of a stranger? (Jn. 10:4-5) After trying for two years to get this young man to come to a place of repentance, he still defended his sinful lifestyle and wicked heart. He still argued against holiness and obedience to the Lord every chance he got, most often while “fellowshiping” with other Christians. The true sheep do not do these things, and such “fellowship” is worthless, as light is forever divided from darkness. When we figure out we are in the presence of an unrepentant Korah, we need to, “Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins.” (Num. 16:26)

The Apostle Paul may have been referring back to the rebellion of Korah when he wrote the following:

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2 Tim. 2:19)

Despite the deceitful words and conjured-up doctrines of religious rebels, the Lord does know those who are His. He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver, testing and proving and perfecting that which is real (Mal. 3:3). His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matt. 3:12)

Who shall draw near to the Lord? Is the Lord with us just because we insist He is? Can we be close to the Lord while disregarding His Word?

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the Lord,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Your face. (Psa. 24:3-6)

What about the disobedient who insist that God is with them?

To these He says,

What right have you to declare My statutes, or take My covenant in your mouth, seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you? (Psa. 50:16-17)

Just as Korah perished from the assembly, so these will perish from God’s assembly if they do not repent. They may hang around the congregation of the righteous, but they will not remain there. The wheat will be gathered to Christ, and the chaff will be thrown in unquenchable fire. They may fool some people for a time, but they will not fool the searching eye of the Lord. Many will go alive into the pit with choir robes on.

Religious people who feverishly work to draw more disobedient disciples after themselves are often admired and followed by many. They can have the biggest churches and appear to have thriving ministries. Nevertheless, they are late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots…for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever (Jude 12-13). Don’t be fooled by appearances; one day after Korah made his bold claims against God’s authority, he was destroyed. The Lord knows those who are His.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.

He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish. (Psa. 1)

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A Convenient Time

Posted by israeliteindeed on May 17, 2012

And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. Now as he [Paul] reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” (Acts 24:24-25)

Dear reader, has God ever sent to you a messenger who reasoned with you about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come? How did you respond?  Did you banish the message from your mind, hoping for a more convenient time to consider its fearful implications?

I wonder if a convenient time ever came for Felix? I think it likely that Felix died in his sins, though of course I don’t know for sure.

There is a stern warning in Scripture for those who hear the voice of God speaking to them:

…The Holy Spirit says:  “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’”  (Heb. 3:7-11)

If you hear His voice calling to you for obedience, but you harden your heart rather than repenting, you will receive the same penalty as did the rebellious Israelites that were barred from God’s rest.  This warning is for those who have never known the Lord and hear His voice calling them today, as well as for those who have known the Lord in the past but have gone astray in their hearts since then.

Acts 24:26-27 offers more insight into the heart of Felix, who feared at the word of the Lord, but did not repent:

Meanwhile he [Felix] also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him.  Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him.  But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.

Clearly, Felix desired money more than he desired the righteousness and self-control Paul spoke of!  He sent for Paul and spoke to him often, seemingly over the course of two whole years, due to a personal ambition to get Paul to pay his way out of prison.  When Felix was replaced in his duties by someone else, he left Paul in prison to do the Jews a favor. Many conversations with Paul had not brought his heart into submission to God, but instead hardened his heart. Imagine regular talks with the Apostle Paul!–But these talks had profited Felix nothing.  Neither will your church attendance, your Bible studies, your friendships with Christians, or your religious status if you do not submit to the Lord Jesus from your heart and obey His commands.

What is holding YOU back from obeying Jesus?

Is it–as with Felix–a desire for money? Remember Paul’s warning in I Tim. 6:10–The love the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  Remember the words of Jesus–What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 16:26)

Is it a desire to please your family?  Jesus said divisions would come in families because of Him (Luke 12:51-53), and anyone loving family more than Him is not worthy of Him (Matt. 10:34-37). The dead (those who refuse to repent and believe) must be left to bury the dead, and no one looking back after putting his hand to the plow is fit for the kingdom of God. Remember Lot’s Wife!

Is it that you still enjoy the pleasure of sin? Oh, sinner, remember the pleasures of sin only last for a season; sin’s wages are piling up to heaven and they are DEATH.  If you are still alive, it is because a space for repentance has been granted you by the mercy of God. As surely as the Flood came and carried away Noah’s neighbors, the wrath of God is coming on the disobedient.

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Cor. 6:2)
Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…(Heb. 3:7,8)

Tomorrow is not promised. Keep playing with sin, keep loving the world, keep seeking after earthly things all while hearing the word of the Lord, and that Word you hear will not help you.  If you wait for a convenient time to get right with God, you may never have the chance. Your sin may blind you and keep you bound until final destruction is determined for you.  Unless you obey, your hearing of the Word will only produce self-deception.  You will be like those who pleaded with the Lord, “We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.” But Jesus will answer, “I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.” (Luke 13:26-27)

The only wise time to get right with God is NOW and TODAY.

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What Spirit is Working in You?

Posted by israeliteindeed on August 27, 2011

And you [saints] hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. (Eph. 2:1-2)

I’d like to draw your attention to the last phrase, “the prince of the power of the air [satan], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”  The saints to whom Paul was writing had walked according to the course of this world only in time past.  Since then they had died with Christ, and been raised to a new holy life. Their conduct was no longer disobedient toward God, for those who are disobedient now are still being controlled by satan.

Many profess to be children of God and filled with the Spirit of God. However, the tree is known by the fruit it produces (Luke 6:44).

The Spirit of God is the HOLY Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to and finds rest in only those who obey God (Acts 5:32).  If a man is filled with the Holy Spirit, his works will be holy, for the Spirit working in him will produce fruit after His own kind (holiness). The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love (obedience to God’s commands–Jn. 14:23), joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance [self-control] (Gal 5:22-23).

If the fruit being produced in a man is fleshly and disobedient to God, the spirit at work in that man is the devil. He can say he believes in Jesus all he wants; even the devil himself believes in Jesus. Not only that, but the devil trembles, knowing that Jesus will soon crush him beneath the feet of the saints (Jam. 2:19; Rom. 16:20).  What the devil will not do is obey Jesus. And those who are taken captive by satan to do his will also live in disobedience (2 Tim. 2:26). As their father does, so do they.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. (John 8:44a)

Those who are doing “the lusts of your father [the devil]” are yet children of the devil.

In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (I John 3:10)

Are you DOING righteousness? Not merely acknowledging that Christ was righteous, but doing likewise–living as He lived? Have you crucified your flesh with its affections and lusts?–If not, you are not yet Christ’s (Gal. 5:24). If you are still walking after the flesh, be assured that you will die (forfeit eternal life; Rom. 8:13). Let no one deceive you that you can walk after your flesh and yet possess eternal life.

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)

Those who DO such things shall NOT INHERIT the kingdom of God. For King Jesus Himself will send His angels to remove from His kingdom all things that cause sin and those who DO sin and cast them into the furnace of fire (Matt. 13:41-42). It makes no difference what you believe in your mind and profess with your mouth, if your works continue to be unrighteous.  For many will say “Lord, Lord” on judgment day, and the Lord will turn them away forever because they did not put His words into practice in their everyday lives (Matt. 7).

So I ask you, dear reader, what spirit is working in you? Is it the Holy Spirit of God, working what is righteous and obedient to the Lord? Or is it the spirit of the devil, working what is disobedient?

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.  (Eph. 5:3-7)

“Let it not once be named among you,” for the children of disobedience have only wrath to look forward to! Those who live and preach that we can only be disobedient for the rest of our lives have missed the whole purpose of the gospel of grace; they do not understand that Jesus has come to redeem us from all sin and purify for Himself a peculiar people who no longer walk in disobedience, but are zealous for doing what is good (Titus 2:11-14).

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence [lust], and covetousness, which is idolatry:  for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. (Col. 3:5-6)

Again, the children of disobedience will have wrath!  If this describes you, your only hope is to repent of doing evil, and turn to the Lord in obedience, trusting in His sacrifice to atone for your past rebellion.  Do not receive the grace of God in vain; do not do injury to the Spirit of grace by continuing in willful disobedience after coming to know the truth, lest you be considered worthy of greater punishment than those who despised Moses’ law and died without mercy (Heb. 10:26-29).

You must let the devil do his works in you no longer, giving him no place (Eph. 4:27).  Submit yourself to God (letting Him reign and rule in your life); resist the devil, and he will flee from you (Jam. 4:7).  The Son of God to Whom you submit was manifested to destroy the works of the devil (I Jn. 3:8). In becoming Christ’s servant and the servant of righteousness, you will no longer be the servant of sin or the devil. In submitting to His yoke (both His control and His divine assistance), you will find rest for your soul at last.  Follow the Lamb of God–Jesus–who only did what pleased the Father (Jn. 8:29).  As He lived, so you are called to live in this world (I Jn. 4:17).  If you do this, you will have confidence before Him at His coming because you have been abiding in Him (I John 2:28) and His Spirit has been living in you (I Jn. 3:24).

May God bless you and dwell in you by His Spirit!

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A God Who Hurts and Rejoices

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 27, 2011

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. (Gen. 6:5-6)

What a wonderful record of the beautiful heart of God!  In the face of sin and rebellion, He is more than just angry, wrathful or vengeful. He is grieved in His heart. It hurts Him. In longsuffering, He waits, giving a space to repent (I Pet. 3:20) In light of the first commandment to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, I think it very good to meditate on the fact that God has a heart that is made to feel sorrow by our sins.

Because God exercises such amazing self-control, and is longsuffering and merciful toward us, we tend to forget that God hurts.

He testified that he was grieved forty long years with the generation of Israelites He had rescued from Egypt (Psa. 95:10). Later, when new generations of Israelites had fallen away, He gave these stirring testimonies:

Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves. Amos 2:13

Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.  Isa 1:14

I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols. Ezek 6:9

God felt pressed, weary, and broken because of the sins of His people! Yet all this time, He was patiently working out His great salvation for those who would repent and seek Him wholeheartedly. What amazing love and goodness!  Is He not worthy of our returned love? Should we not repent of grieving His heart, of wearying Him, of causing His brokenness by our whoring after the idols that only ruin us?

The same God who is capable of feeling intense grief, is also capable of ecstatic and appropriate joy when we repent.  He is the self-less Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine safe sheep to find one that wandered away, and when He finds him, he lays him on His broad shoulders rejoicing. And He is like the woman who seeks diligently to find her one lost coin, and afterwards celebrates with friends. Likewise, there is joy in the presence of the angels over one sinner that repents (Luke 15:4-10). He is the father who runs to his returning son, still stained by the muck of the pig-pen. How eagerly He clothes his repentant son with the best robe and receives him back into the family! Not only that, he declares that it is fitting to make merry and be glad, for the son who was dead in sin is alive again, and the son who was lost is found at last.

Sinner, won’t you leave off wounding the great and passionate heart of God with your sins today? Won’t you stop crucifying the Son of God afresh? Won’t you come to your senses and stop sinning? Won’t you return to the Father–admitting you deserve nothing,  but willing to serve–and cause rejoicing in the presence of the angels?  Is He not worthy?

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My God, We Know Thee (Lord, Lord!)

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 19, 2011

Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee.  Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him. (Hos. 8:2-3)

Is God mocked? Can He be fooled into accepting those who treat His redeeming blood as an unholy thing by their continuation in disobedience after God has provided so great a salvation? No–

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.   For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Gal. 6:7-8)

Please note: according to this passage, depending on what we “sow” (do), we will either reap corruption or everlasting life (salvation).  This passage says nothing about losing a few rewards while still receiving everlasting life, as many are falsely teaching. Do not be deceived.  Israel was delivered from Egypt by the mighty power of God, and atonement was provided for his sins.  Yet because he cast off the thing that was good, counting the great things of God’s law a strange thing, the Lord declared, “The LORD accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt.” (Hos. 8:13)

It is not enough to cry out, “My God, we know thee!”–even if you really knew Him at one time. It is not enough to have a Bible and knowledge of what it says. We must cease from casting off the thing that is good. We must willingly wear the good yoke of Christ, keeping in step with Him through the Spirit, living as He is–holy–in this world (I Jn. 4:17). If we cast off the thing that is good, the enemy shall pursue us, for sin always brings forth death.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  (Matt. 7:21-23)

Have you escaped the pollutions of the world through knowing Jesus Christ, only to become entangled therein again? Have you known the way of righteousness only to turn from the holy commandment? Are you a worker of iniquity that must be barred from entering the kingdom of heaven?  Unless you repent, you would have been better off having never known Him! (2 Pet. 2:20-22)  For we will be judged according to what we did with what we were given, and the one who knew his Master’s will and did not do it will be beaten with many stripes, as opposed to the few stripes that will punish the ignorant (Luke 12:47-48).

Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (Jam. 1:22)

God bless you.

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Return to the Lord

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 18, 2011

In the book of Hosea, the prophet was called to rebuke and warn Israel and Judah. Israel was such an adulterous people that Hosea was commanded to marry a whorish woman to demonstrate what it was like for God, married to people who “transgressed the covenant” in every conceivable way. The children of Hosea were given names that forecast the judgment of God on Israel–literally “no mercy” and “not my people”–for the mercy of God has a limit, and He will eventually cast off those whom He cannot reform by His many kindnesses.

Some of the charges against these people included:

Appreciating idols rather than God for daily provisions (2:5, 8 )
Forgetting God (2:13)
Forsaking truth, mercy, and knowledge of God (4:1)
Swearing, lying, killing, stealing, committing adultery, and breaking all restraint (4:2)
Having no respect for the priests (4:4)
Rejecting knowledge and forgetting God’s law (4:6)
Setting their hearts on iniquity and “eating up sin” (4:8)
Ceasing to obey the Lord (4:10)
Asking counsel from wrong sources (4:12)
Loving dishonor (4:18)
Not directing their deeds toward turning back to God (5:4)
Pride (5:5)
Begetting pagan children, not brought up in God’s ways (5:7)
Willingly walking by human precepts (5:11)

This list is what apostasy looks like.

It is possible to begin well, but fail to finish the race, both personally and corporately.

God commands His people to love Him first, to do what is right by His standards, and to teach their children His ways. But over time, even those who have tasted of the heavenly gift and seen His goodness can become hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. They can begin to forget God, spending more time in carnal pursuits and increasing worldly goods or other means of self-satisfaction. In fact, the more they increase, the more they sometimes sin (4:7). Little by little, they begin to ask counsel from the wrong places, rejecting the knowledge of God (which is always right) and replacing it with human precepts (which are generally wrong). Their judgment becomes skewed, as they no longer have the mind of Christ, but the carnal mind which is death. They begin to see their daily provisions as coming from their own labor or good luck, forgetting they can’t even breathe apart from the help of God.  If they do notice their own spiritual brokenness, they turn to other broken people for the cure (5:13), trying to get water from broken cisterns. Pride keeps them continuing on their way even when it becomes obvious they have made a wrong turn somewhere.  They don’t direct their deeds toward turning back to God, but instead make provision for their flesh, taking advantage of God’s patience. Worst of all, they continue to call themselves by God’s name, imagining that once in God’s favor means always in God’s favor. Unless there is repentance and change, whole generations of children are brought up in this apostasy; they are “pagan children” though they may deceive themselves to the contrary.  If they “accept Jesus,” He is only one of their many gods, not their only Lord and King.

A cursory look at American Christianity today reveals that we are in a state of apostasy as bad as Israel’s, and we too are in terrible danger of reaching the end of God’s mercy and being altogether disowned without recourse.

A bit closer to home, perhaps this scene of apostasy describes you. Perhaps you once knew God, knew His tender mercy and gracious forgiveness. Perhaps you felt your burden of sin roll away. Perhaps you experienced joy and peace for the first time. Maybe you even served the Lord with gladness for some years. But something hindered you in your walk. Maybe it was laziness.  Maybe there was some sin in your life you refused to give up. Maybe you grew discouraged because of persecution. Maybe you were lonely, and you began to seek counsel or companionship from “friends” who serve the devil. Maybe you began to seek after something–money, material goods, social advancement, romance, etc.–and this pursuit eclipsed your pursuit of the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Whatever the reason for your apostasy, there is only ONE THING TO DO. You must return to God. His threatenings apply to you just as much as to adulterous Israel, for these things were written for our learning. And yet, there is hope!

Listen to what the Lord said He would do to Israel (Ephraim) and Judah in hopes that some would yet be saved:

For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue. I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense.   Then they will seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me. (Hos. 5:14-15)

Faithful are the wounds of a friend! He who knit you together in your mother’s womb will tear you as a lion tears the prey, and go away, hiding Himself until you acknowledge your offense and earnestly seek Him again. The prophet tells us how to respond to this:

Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.      After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.  (Hosea 6:1-3)

Are there any more precious promises than these?  David acknowledged that in faithfulness God had afflicted him, and that his affliction was good for him–for before he was afflicted, he went astray, but now he had learned to keep God’s Word. (Psa. 119: 67, 71, 75)  Come, and let us return to the Lord, for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. Leave off sloth and sin and the pride that drives you blindly along, storing up wrath as you go; acknowledge your offenses and seek mercy from the Lord.  He does not afflict you to no purpose, but for your healing!  Yes, when you die to your sins and your old way of life, He will raise even you up on the third day, that you may live again in His sight. He will not reject you if you will only return to Him. Just as the morning is faithful to arrive, so He will come to you like the rain and make your life fruitful again, if you only pursue the knowledge of the Lord. For He has no pleasure in the death of one who dies; therefore turn and live! (Eze. 18:32)

May God bless you!

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Judgment is Coming on America

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 27, 2011

Please take a moment to visit this precious fellow-saint’s blog. Truly, Wisdom is still crying out, but so few are listening.  Read, understand, and spread the message far and wide!  God bless you.

Today, as in the days of the early Church, Christians endure persecution on varying levels.  Whether we are hearing news of a precious Saint who was murdered for the cause of Christ, or seeing slurs and racism based upon our political views, we know that all who live godly in Christ WILL suffer persecution.  Yet we cry Wisdom and pray that sinners will repent of their wickedness and find salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Recently, the state of New York passed a law sanctioning their approval and legalization of homosexual marriage. (Read More)

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Posted by israeliteindeed on November 29, 2009

Nations are made “desolate” because of

  • Evil doings (Jer 44:22),
  • Not listening to God’s word (Jer 22:5),
  • Refusing to be instructed by God (Jer 6:8),
  • Shedding innocent blood (Joel 3:19),
  • Despising God’s judgments and statutes (Lev 26:43),
  • Dwelling carelessly (Zeph 2:15),
  • Violence (Eze 12:19),
  • Trespass (Eze 15:8),
  • Killing their babies (Eze 20:26),
  • Rebellion against God (Hos 13:16),
  • Evil doings reap a harvest of evil (Mic 7:13).

The church is made desolate because of

  • Evil pastors (Jer 12:10),
  • No man layeth it to heart (Jer 12:11).
  • The fierceness of the oppressor and God’s fierce anger.  (Jer 25:38) (Oppressors are promised to the disobedient)
  • God due to their wickedness & idolatry (Jer 44:3),
  • Refusing to listen to God’s prophets (Jer 44:4-5),
  • Refusing to humble themselves and repent of their sins even to this day (Jer 44:10),
  • Committing abominations and evil which the Lord can no longer stand (Jer 44:22),
  • Refusing to obey the voice of the Lord (Jer 44:23),
  • Killing or persecuting God’s prophets and refusing to be gathered to Jesus (Matt 23:34-38).

From Daniel 9, the church is made desolate because of:

  • Sin, iniquity, doing wickedly, rebellion, departing from God’s precepts and judgments (vs 5),
  • Not listening to God’s prophets (vs 6),
  • Trespassing against God (vs 7),
  • Not obeying the voice of God or walking in His laws (vs 10),
  • Departing from God (vs 11),
  • God is faithful to confirm His words by bringing evil on those who disobey (vs 12),
  • Not praying a prayer of repentance, turning from iniquity to understand God’s truth (vs 13),
  • God is righteous, therefore brings evil upon the unrepentant and disobedient (vs 14).

“Therefore is the sanctuary desolate.” (17)

Individual’s “houses” can be made “desolate” also, according to Acts 1:20, concerning the apostle Judas who by transgression fell away.  In Matt 7:22-29, Jesus taught that it was the man who not only hears the Word but puts it into practice, whose “house” shall not be destroyed.  The “house” is the individual’s life, which shall only be preserved by the one who is careful to do the Word of God.

Compilation of DESOLATION Scriptures for Further Study (KJV)

Lev 26:31 “I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation…”

Lev 26:32 “I will bring the land into desolation and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.”

Josh 8:28 “Joshua burnt Ai, and made it…even a desolation…”

2 Kin 22:19  “Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the Lord, when thou heardeest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and has rent thy clothes, and wept before me;  I also have heard thee, saith the Lord.”

2 Ch 30:7  “And be not ye like your fathers, and like your brethren, which trespassed against the LORD God of their fathers, who therefore gave them up to desolation…”

Psa 73:19  How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment!  they are utterly consumed with terrors.

Pro 1:27 “When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirl wind; and when distress and anguish cometh upon you.

Pro. 3:25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither o fthe desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.

Isa 10:3  And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far?  to whom will ye flee for help?  and where will ye leave your glory?

Isa 17:9  In that day shall his strong cities be as a forsaken bough, and an uppermost branch, which they left because of the children of Israel;  and there shall be desolation.

Isa 24:12  In the city is left desolation, and the gate is smitten with destruction.

Isa 47:11  Therefore shall evil com upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth:  and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off:  and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.

Isa 51:19  These two things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee?  desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword:  by whom shall I comfort thee?

Isa 64:10  They holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.

Jer 22:5  But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation.

Jer 25:11  And this whol land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment;  and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

Jer 25:18  To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; asit is this day;

Jer 34:22  “…and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without an inhabitant.”

Jer 44:2  Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;  Ye have seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, and upon all the cities of Judah;  and, behold, this day they are a desolation, and no man dwelleth therein,

Jer 44:22  So that the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings, and because of the abominations which ye have committed;  therefore is your land a desolation, and an astonishment, and a curse, without inhabitant as at this day.

Jer 49:13 “…Bozrah shall become a desolation…”

Jer 49:17  “…Edom shall be a desolation…”

Jer 49:33 “…Hazor shall be…a desolation…”

Jer 50:23  “How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken!  how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!”

Jer 51:29  And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make thaland of Babylon a desoation without an inhabitant.

Jer 51:43  Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby.

Lam 3:47  Fear and a snare is come upon us, desolation and destruction.

Eze 7:27  “…and the prince shall be clothed with desolation, and the hands of the people of the land shall be troubled:  I will do unto them after their way, and according to their deserts will I judge them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.”

Eze 23:33  Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation…

Dan 8:13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot?

Hos 12:1  ” Ephraim….daily increaseth lies and desolation…”

Joel 3:19  Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.

Micah 6:16  For the statutes of Omri are kept, and all the works of the house of Ahab, and ye walk in their counsels; that I should make thee a desolation…

Zeph 1:13  Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation…

Zeph 1:15  That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,

Zeph 2:4  For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashhelon a desolation…

Zeph 2:9  Therefore…surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah…a perpetual desolation…

Zeph 2:13  And he will…make Ninevah a desolation and dry like a wilderness

Zeph 2:14  …desolation shall be in the thresholds…

Zeph 2:15  This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how she is become a desolation…

Matt 12:25  And Jesus knew their thoughts and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation;  and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand [also Luke 11:17]

Matt 24:15  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

Mark 13:14  But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation spoken by Daniel  the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

Luke 21:20  And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.

Compilation of DESOLATE Scriptures (not exhaustive)

Lev 26:22  I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number;  and you high ways shall be desolate.

Lev 26:33 And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land whall be desolate, and your cities waste.

Lev 26:43  The land…shall be left…desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity:  because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes.

Job 15:34  For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery.

Psa 34:21  Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.

Isa 1:7  Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.

Isa 6:11  Then said I, Lord, how long?  And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land utterly desolate

Isa 13:9  Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

Isa 24:6  Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.

Isa 27:10 Yet the defenced city shall be desolate….

Isa 59:10  We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night;  we are in desolate places as dead men.

Jer 2:12  Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.

Jer 4:7 …he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate…

Jer 4:27  For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate;  yet will I not make a full end.

Jer 6:8  Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.

Jer 9:11  And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons;  and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, wihout an inhabitant.

Jer 10:25  Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name:  for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.

Jer 12:10  Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.

Jer 12:11 They have made it desolate, and being desolate it mourneth unto me; the whole land is made desolate because no man layeth it to heart.

Jer 19:8  And I will make this city desolate…

Jer 25:38  He hath forsaken his covert (tabernacle), as the lion: for their land is desolate because of the fierceness of the oppressor, and because of his fierce anger.

Jer 44:6  Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as at this day.

Lam 1:4  The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to her solemn feasts:  all her gates are desolate:  her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness.

Lam 1:16  for these things  weep;    mine eye, mine eye runneth down with water, because the comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me:  my children are desolate, because the enemy prevailed.

Lam 4:5  They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets:  they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills.

Lam 5:18  Because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes walk upon it.

Eze 6:4  And your altars shall be desolate, and your images shall be broken:  and I will cast down your slain men before your idols. (as a sacrifice?)

Ez 6:6  In all your dwellingplaces the cities shall be laid waste and the high places shall be desolate;  that your altars may be laid waste and made desolate, and your idols may be broken and cease, and your images may be cut down, and your works may be abolished.

Eze 6:14  So I will stretch out my hand upon them, and make the land desolate…

Eze 12:19  …that her land may be desolate from all that is therein, because of the violence of all of them that dwell therein.

Eze 14:16  Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters;  they only shall be delivered, but the land shall be desolate.

Eze 15:8  And I will make the land desolate, because they have committed a trespass, saith the Lord GOD.

Ez 20:26  And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the LORD.

Ez 33:28  For I will lay the land most desolate, and the pomp of her strength shall cease;  and the mountains of Israel shall be desolate, that none shall pass through.

Ez 33:29  then shall they know that I am the LORD, when I have laid the land most desolate because of all their abominations which they have committed.

Ez  35:14  Thus saith the Lord GOD; When the whole earth rejoiceth, I will make thee desolate.

Ez 36:3 (enemies made Israel desolate…rest of chapter gives hope for future of repentant)

Dan 9:17  Now therefore O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake.

Dan 9:27  And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Dan 11:31  And arms shall stand (be employed, serve) on his part and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.

Dan 12:11  And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

Hos 13:16  Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God:….

Joel 1:18  …the flocks of sheep are made desolate.

Joel 2:3  A fire devoureth before them;  and behind them a flame burneth:  the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness;  yea, and nothing shall escape them.

Joel 3:19  …Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.

Amos 7:9  And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste…

Micah 1:7 …and all the idols thereof will I lay desolate…

Micah 6:13  Therefore also will I make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee desolate because of thy sins.

Micah 7:13  Notwithstanding the land shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings.

Matt. 23:38  Behold your house is left unto you desolate. (also Luke 13:35)

Acts 1:20 (speaking of Judas, quoting Psalms) …Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein…

Rev 17:16  And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. ( nations will hate the hypocritical religion, expose and destroy her.)

Rev 18:19  And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness!  for in one hour is she made desolate.

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