The Grace of God

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

Posts Tagged ‘heaven’

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)

Advertisements

Posted in Apostasy, Backslider, End Times, Judgment of God | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

God Sees Your Sin, Pt. 2

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 21, 2011

In this post, I would like to present you with Old Testament Scriptures which demonstrate that God deals with people on a day-to-day basis. He makes conditional covenants (agreements) with people, but if the people violate the conditions for blessing and refuse to repent, God is not bound to bless them still. The covenant has essentially been broken. Though God is merciful and loves to forgive, He does not blind Himself to the future sins of His people, allowing them to sin all they want and still remain under His protection and grace.

Some will argue that the Old Testament has no bearing on the lives of New Covenant believers, but this is error. We must remember that Jesus and all the New Testament teachers taught new believers from the Old Testament! It is applicable because God changes not. His character in the Old Testament is still the character He has today. There is a newer and better covenant in place, with a greater High Priest and more precious promises, but God remains the same covenant God, whose conditions must be met if one is to remain in His favor.

The Old Testament Judaic law was a shadow of things to come (Heb. 10:1)–meaning it was a type, from which we can draw truth and parallels relating directly to the present gospel time. Paul wrote exactly that in I Cor. 10:1-12, warning Christians that although the Old Testament Israelites had exited Egypt (symbolically: separated from the world), lived under the cloud (symbolically: enjoyed the protection of God), were baptized in the cloud and the sea (symbolically: old man crucified in baptism, resurrection to a new life as God’s child), ate spiritual meat (symbolically: partook of the True Bread, Jesus), and drank of the Rock who is Christ (received living waters), most were still overthrown in the wilderness before reaching the Promised Land. Why? They lusted, committed idolatry, fornicated, tempted Christ, and murmured in continual complaint, being unthankful. All these things happened to them, and were carefully recorded for examples to us, according to Paul!!

Therefore, we under the New Covenant can be sure that if we do the same things the Old Covenant people did, we will suffer the same fate. Though we have at one time separated from the world, enjoyed God’s protection, been baptized in Jesus, and feasted at the table of God, it is possible that because of our future sins, we will not receive the promise.  For this reason, the writer of Hebrews admonishes us,

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Heb. 10:36)

It is imperative for those of us who have faith in the promise of God to DO THE WILL OF GOD with PATIENCE–BEFORE we receive the promise!

Listen to the promise of God given to Israel in Deut. 31:8–

And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Right after Moses delivered this wonderful promise to Israel, God gave him a snapshot of the future; Israel would “rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.” What would happen next? Would God overlook their future sin and “never forsake them”?–

Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? (Deut. 31:16, 17)

When Joshua’s men suffered defeat at Ai, he sought answers of the Lord. Hadn’t the Lord promised to be with them? Why was He not keeping His promise? The Lord’s answer:

Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.  Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. (Josh. 7:11, 12)

Clearly, God’s promise to be with Israel was conditioned upon their remaining separate from “accursed things.”  God’s present favor is not a promise of unconditional future favor, no matter what you do.

If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. (Josh. 24:20)

The same warning was given to Solomon, a man gifted with wisdom from God:

Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.  (I Chron. 28:9)

Azariah, speaking by the Spirit of God, said the following to King Asa, and the people of Judah and Benjamin:

The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. (2 Chron. 15:2)

Let us not forget David, the man after God’s own heart, the shepherd king chosen to replace the backsliding King Saul. When he took another man’s wife and had her husband killed, “the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.” (2 Sam. 11:27)  The Lord did not overlook the sins of the man He had chosen. Many people believe that David remained in a perfectly safe, “saved” condition during the long period of time before he repented, but the Bible does not make this claim–contrarily, it claims that unrepentant adulterers and murders will not inherit the Kingdom of God (I Cor. 6:9; Rev. 21:8). Certainly, God’s mercy was extended to David in that he did not die in an unrepentant state, and His hand was heavy on David leading him to repentance. David could have hardened his heart at Nathan’s rebuke; thankfully, he did not.  We should not conclude from this story that David was an adulterer who was saved (unbiblical), but that God saw David’s sin and expected repentance.

In Ezekiel 8, the prophet was encouraged by God to look upon the wicked abominations–and greater abominations than these–being committed in the house of God. Was this not the house that once had the glory of the Lord resting upon it? (I Kings 8:11) But now God was angry at what the people were doing, so angry that He said,

Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. (Ezek. 8:18)

Dear reader, God judges the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day (Psa. 7:11).  He does not turn a blind eye to the future deeds of those who are presently considered “righteous.” In fact, He declared that if a righteous person turns from past righteousness  to future sin, none of his past righteousness will even be remembered! (Ezek. 3:20; 18:24-26; 33:12) A righteous person’s future sins are not invisible to God! Dare you say to the all-seeing God, “You can’t see what I’m doing”?

Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? (Isa. 29:15)

The Lord says to His chosen people that turn to sin, “I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins.” (Amos 5:12) Not only does He know them, but “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Eccl. 12:14)  If you cover your sins (perhaps with unbiblical arguments like “God doesn’t see my sin”), you will NOT PROSPER, but if you confess AND FORSAKE them, you will have mercy (Prov. 28:13).

Although Israel had a covenant agreement with God whereby his sins could be covered and forgotten, his refusal to obey God’s voice, and his continuation in wickedness made his iniquity to be remembered (Ezek. 21:24). Because the people refused to restrain their wandering feet, the Lord no longer accepted them, but would now “remember their iniquity, and visit their sins.” (Jer. 4:10)

This doctrine that “God doesn’t see my sin” grieves the heart of God, who desires to heal backsliders of their ways if only they would “consider…in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face.” (Hos. 7:1-2)

Apostasy was so rampant when the prophet Jeremiah was preaching, that the Lord directly said to the people, “I will utterly forget you…I will forsake you…and cast you out of my presence.” (Jer. 23:39)  Because the people transgressed the covenant and “cast off the thing that is good,” counting the “great things” of His law “a strange thing,” the Lord would no longer accept them, but would remember their iniquity and send them back to Egypt! (Hos. 8:3, 12, 13)  Because the people went whoring away from the God who loved them, and insisted upon corrupting themselves, He would “drive them out of His house,” “love them no more,” and “cast them away.” (Hos. 9)

The Israelites were taught by God, through the Levitical system, how costly sin was by seeing their innocent beasts die for their sins. Whatever sins were remitted by the shedding of blood would not be remembered against them. It was not a one-time deal, but a lifestyle of obeying God’s voice, examining themselves, and making appropriate offerings to God while seeking His forgiveness and favor. A man who became careless with the things of God was “cut off from his people.” Although the blood of animals cannot take away sins, these things were written for examples to us, and for our admonition (I Cor. 10:11).  Our offering for sin is the blood of Jesus Christ (shed once for all time), but this does not negate the fact that we must live lifestyles of obeying God’s voice, heeding His correction, examining ourselves sincerely, confessing and forsaking sin while seeking the Lord’s forgiveness, and looking to the crucified & risen Lamb of God with faith in His blood.  Carelessness and callousness can still result in being “cut off.” I will discuss this same theme in New Testament Scriptures in the next post.

God bless you!

Go to Part 3

Posted in Backslider, Calvinism, Christian Life, Once Saved Always Saved | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Feeding on Foolishness

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 18, 2011

The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness. Prov. 15:14

It causes me great sorrow to see many young people, who claim to love God, feeding on foolishness. They watch movies that “aren’t so bad.” They listen to music that isn’t openly opposed to Christ; it just doesn’t lead the heart’s affections in His direction. They follow the exploits of athletes as if it all means something, memorizing stats instead of the Scriptures which are able to make men wise unto salvation. They play video games, sometimes vicariously living through fake people while their spiritual house falls into disrepair. Oh, the daring exploits they accomplish in their video games–while in reality, they do nothing at all for either Christ or neighbor!

We are what we eat. All of this feeding on foolishness makes one a fool, and gives one the mouth of a fool that can help no one.  But you have not so learned Christ!

Is there even one account of Jesus behaving in a flippant, self-entertaining way in any of the gospels? Never. He was always working, just as His Father was always working (John 5:17). Jesus was ministry-minded, not entertainment minded.  He knew and purposely kept before His face the reason He came–to set captives free. What does this mean to you–My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me?

I charge you, dear reader, to steward your time here on earth as one who will give an account.  The question is not, “Can I get away with this activity?” but “Will this activity increase the knowledge of God in me and on the earth?”

Now, I don’t believe for a moment that Jesus never smiled. But joy has little or nothing to do with entertainments; entertainments are inherently selfish and produce no true joy in the soul. If you want to be anointed with gladness above all your fellows, you must love righteousness and hate iniquity as Jesus did (Heb. 1:9).  Squandering the new life and resources God has given you is ungratefulness and sin; you must hate it enough to turn away from it.  True joy is found co-laboring with Jesus in the great work of salvation while we can, for the night is coming when no man can work (Jn. 9:4).

How can you say you love God with all your heart, when you spend so many hours pursuing vain things that God is far from?–If this describes you, your profession of love is vain. You feed on things that produce no life in you; you have allowed your appetite for truth to dwindle to the point that no fruit is being produced in your life–for unless you abide in the Vine, you cannot produce fruit. You are lukewarm in your affections for Jesus, and are in the gravest of dangers. Seeking out His Wisdom and/or serving somewhere in the Body of Christ is not as important as beating another level in a fake video game world! While you win virtual battles on a screen, the real spiritual battle rages all around you, but your ears grow dull to its sound, and your mind uncomprehending of its strategies. Your sword grows dull from disuse, and you don’t even know that you are losing your spiritual life and becoming useless to God and others. What a tragedy!

The heart of him that has understanding seeks KNOWLEDGE, and refuses to feed on foolishness.  You must choose between life and death.  With the banquet of good things the Lord willingly spreads before us, with all the wisdom that is to be found in Him, with all the souls on their way to perdition, with the rumblings of divine judgment even now on the horizon, with so few laborers in God’s harvest fields, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation and rush headlong after foolish things?  Had Noah stopped working on the ark to do something “fun” with his neighbors, he would not have been mocked for preaching righteousness, and he would not have had the ark ready at the appointed time.

Young person, rather than feeding on the foolishness that brings spiritual death to you and everyone around you, why not study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, (2 Tim. 2:15) so that you can break true bread for hungry souls? Why not seek for the wisdom of God like treasure, so that you have a storehouse for you and others to draw from in times of trouble?  Why not find something profitable to do for the kingdom of God?

God bless you.

Posted in Backslider, Christian Life, Judgment of God, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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.

Posted in Backslider, Christian Life, Judgment of God, Once Saved Always Saved | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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!

 

Posted in Calvinism, Christian Life, Judgment of God | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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!

Posted in Calvinism, Christian Life, Judgment of God, Legalism, Once Saved Always Saved | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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.

Posted in Christian Life, Judgment of God, Once Saved Always Saved | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Guarding the Fruit (Lessons From the Garden Part 2)

Posted by israeliteindeed on June 10, 2011

In my last post, I described a garden that had a rough beginning, but was really looking beautiful. The lesson I learned was that we must not grow weary in well doing, for we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up.

If I thought that was the end of the story, and I could now sit back and wait for the fruit to drop into my hands, I was wrong. My first culprit seemed to be plant shock, and perhaps fungus. Now that those are under control, my garden has a more insistent predator. In one week’s time, a rabbit has finished off an entire row of lettuce plants, and most of a row of bean plants. Not only that, he destroyed all the marigolds I planted all around the garden. There are lots of leafless and flowerless stems left, looking stark and sad against the brown mulch.  That’s alot of work and watering seemingly for nothing.

I confess I am discouraged. But this time, I know that self-pity is a waste of time, and is a robber of the good fruit that follows patient endurance.

Obviously, sin has ravaged our earth, and producing fruit here is not going to be an easy task, whether we are referring to physical fruit or the more important spiritual fruit. It is going to take more work than we understood when we came to Jesus on that happy day that He washed our sins away and made us “the planting of the Lord” (Isa 61:3). We have to fight more than drought and blight; there are predators sent by satan to make us fruitless even after we have produced life and made some progress. Satan knows that if we are fruitless, we shall be hewn down with all the fruitless trees which are cast into the fire (Matt. 3:10).

Satan is not going to rest while we casually produce fruit and effortlessly plunder his dark kingdom. That is why we must “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (I Pet. 5:8-9)  After all, God hasn’t called us to a life of ease. In fact, “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1) that stretch out upon their couches and entertain themselves while the church around them falls into ruins and disrepair. God has called us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23).

Follow Him where? Wherever He goes (Rev. 14:4).

What if He leads us into trouble and hardship? Follow Him, for “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)

What if He leads us into the valley of the shadow of death? Follow Him. We will not fear evil even there; even surrounded by enemies, He spreads a table before us.

There are many enemies, there is much work to be done, there is the hope of a harvest, but there are so few willing to labor and overcome.

Saints, all around us we see (in the Spirit) the broken walls of a destroyed city–the city of the Great King–seemingly in ruins. Apostasy is here. Because iniquity abounds, the love of many (for Jesus) has grown cold (Matt. 24:12). If these anathemas describe you, there is no time to lose–rise and shake off the dust, repent!  Fan into flame the gift that is in you before your lamp goes out and the light that is in you is only darkness!

False teachers have ravaged the sheep and fattened themselves on their flesh, and those who haven’t utterly been destroyed wander on every hill like “sheep without a shepherd,” following every wind of doctrine. It is easy to think there is nothing we can do, and this is precisely what satan wants us to think. He wants us to grow weary in well doing, so that we pine away in self-pity & the harvest never comes. Wave after wave of setbacks will come. We are called not to wilt under the pressure, but to overcome them in Jesus! You must not shrink back when everyone else says it’s hopeless, for “if thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” (Prov. 24:10) And “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” (Heb. 10:38) Have the footmen already wearied you, fainting saint? God will soon ask you to run with horses. Has the land of peace seemed  too difficult? The Jordan will soon swell (Jer. 12:5). Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power!  Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom, but you will not take the kingdom without the faith of Joshua and Caleb.

I am reminded of Nehemiah, who arose in the night and went “by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.” (Neh. 2:13)  I don’t think the word choices in this verse are by accident–“the gate of the valley”–“dragon well”–“dung port”–all seems dismal and overwhelmingly hopeless. But our God brings life out of death, starting with the passion in our hearts to make a change whatever the cost to us, however heavy the cross. Just as I must now construct a wall around my ravaged garden to keep future predators out, Nehemiah would eventually oversee the daunting task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem in the face of tremendous opposition.

I sometimes look at Acts 2 wistfully–all seems blissful–the saints living, eating, and ministering together and enjoying peace while God added to the church daily. But we do disservice to ourselves if we forget that all of life proceeds in seasons. We must understand the times we live in and behave with the wisdom God gives. There is a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted (Eccl. 3:2). There is a time to celebrate the good harvest of the Lord, and a time to mourn for the devastation around us, seeking to repair the breaches in the house of the Lord wherever we find them–we must keep in step with the Spirit. When predators come to rob the fruit in the garden of the Lord, it is not time to go into hiding or to lounge at ease on our couches, feeding ourselves on past harvests, but to stand and fight, not “against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12)

Beloved, fortify your life and your labor against the wiles of the devil, having your spiritual armor on at all times (Eph. 6) and determining that as long as you have breath, you will serve the Lord wherever you are, however you can. In humbled ruins, there are dormant seeds.

Scripture says “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” (I Tim. 4:1-2) Many of the mighty are already fallen; many are already turned aside after satan. But do not let the ruins and devastation immobilize you; continue rather “in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth…that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Tim. 2:25-26)

Every soul recovered is another stone in the rebuilt wall, and even one soul makes a lifetime of backbreaking toil worthwhile.

As for me and my vegetable garden, it is time to dig a trench and plant a fence.

Posted in Christian Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: